Statesboro children needing a ride to a popular after-school program will be guaranteed one this year by Bulloch County Schools.
The Averitt Center for the Arts announced last week that attendees of its Art After Hours program will have the option of riding directly from school to the Averitt Center by way of Bulloch County school buses.
The school system has partnered with the second-year program by agreeing to transport elementary and middle school students in Statesboro to the Averitt Center on one of several buses that pass by or near the facility.
“We are extremely pleased to be able to offer bus transportation from city schools to the Averitt Center for our Art After Hours program,” said Tim Chapman, the center’s executive director. “Transportation will be available for children in the second grade and up attending Sallie Zetterower, Mattie Lively, Mill Creek, Julia P. Bryant, and Langston Chapel elementary schools as well as William James and Langston Chapel middle schools.”
School officials say bus routes will not have to be dramatically altered, and no additional costs will be incurred.
“This is just another way that we can utilize existing resources to help parents provide their children with educational experiences,” said Paul Webb, the school district’s transportation director. “Unlike with Boys and Girls Club, where we have a designated driver and bus, for the Averitt Center’s arts program, we will use existing routes. There will not be a dedicated bus. Children will ride multiple buses that either travel directly in front of, or within a quarter mile of, the Averitt Center. So there will not be any additional costs or route time by doing this.”
The plan is similar to one already implemented to transport Statesboro High School athletes to Mill Creek Regional Park for practices and games. Students are taken on a bus already scheduled to pass near the facilities.
Fran Stephens, the interim schools superintendent, said adding the new bus stop is a good opportunity to enhance education and resources for students at no additional cost to the district.
“When communities come together to support education in the arts, we all benefit,” Stephens said.
According to Tony Phillips, the Averitt Center’s programs director, Art After Hours is a structured after-school program that will ensure kids finish their homework, have a snack and explore different areas of the arts including comics, science fiction, poetry, creative writing, theater, music, and arts and crafts.
The program is also hoped to introduce children to the Averitt Center’s various instructional programs — the Youth Chorale, Youth Theater, Youth Ballet and Youth Visual Arts — he said.
“Our goal is to become a one-stop youth center for kids who are interested in the arts,” Phillips said. “The truly exciting part is that kids who attend Art After Hours can finish their homework, dabble in art, have a snack, and participate in a dance, choir, theater -- or art class, or have a private lesson in voice, piano or violin -- all before their parents pick them up after school.”
Jeff Harrison may be reached at (912) 489-9454.