Kita Smith was on her third trip to Bibb Countys Welcome Center, and she still didnt know when shed be able to enroll her nephew, Deonta Jones, into kindergarten.
Smith said shed come by last week but was told she needed to get some forms notarized. She stopped by 11:30 a.m. Wednesday on a break and saw far too many cars in the parking lot. She returned later in the afternoon and discovered even more cars.
It looks like it has gotten worse, she said.
Bibb Countys centralized Welcome Center has been busy, with perhaps 100 people waiting for help Wednesday afternoon. Thats even with the start of school delayed from Thursday to Aug. 5.
The system is in its second year of using the Riverside Drive facility, which cost about $1.25 million. In years past, parents registered at individual schools. Last year, hundreds of parents lined up at the Welcome Center as the school year neared.
When completed, the facility was billed as a one-stop shop for parents new to Bibb County looking to register their children for school, as well as a place for medical services for students and even adult education classes.
Families must go to the center if their children have never been to school in Bibb County or moved to a different school zone. Students do not need to register at the center if they are remaining at the same school or are moving from elementary to middle school in the same school zone.
In recent months, the Welcome Center was hit by budget cuts that left it with fewer employees, while the remaining staff works less time.
And that has helped make time an issue.
Danny Bass came by Wednesday with his daughters to change their address after they moved. It took a while.
We got here at 2:45 and its 4:12 now, Bass said after confirming the time on his cellphone. Yeah.
The Welcome Centers scheduled hours are now 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday.
The center will also be open this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Jennifer Wood came to the center Wednesday hoping to enroll her son Robert, 5, into kindergarten at Skyview Elementary School.
After waiting 20 minutes, Robert and his brother Hunter, 7, were wriggling in all directions trying to get comfortable on the Welcome Centers brightly patterned furniture and debating who should be allowed to play games on their mothers phone. Jennifer Woods sister and father paced nearby.
Wood said she had waited for an hour earlier just to get a form. She didnt know how long Wednesday afternoons visit would take.
I have no idea, she said.
To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.