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Schools' staff moves into new headquarters

SUWANEE - Moving boxes, crates and furniture fill the huge new Instructional Support Center, the new administrative headquarters for Gwinnett County Schools. But once everything is assembled, moved and unpacked, many school system employees will enjoy the benefits of new offices in the impressive facility.

The ISC brings together school system employees from five departments: human resources, business and finance, educational leadership, organizational advancement and information management. Some of these divisions were separated by 3.6 miles, the distance between the school system's two largest central facilities.

"It's an exciting time," said Sloan Roach, the school district's spokeswoman. "It's the first time really the support staff has been together like this."

Starting next month, Gwinnett Board of Education meetings will be held in the new board room. Its capacity is 502 people, significantly larger than the meeting room had in the Lawrenceville East facility. The back wall can also be removed to accommodate more.

The size allows many more people to attend the meetings, including sports teams when they are honored by the board. At the old facility, large crowds sometimes had to wait outside or stand during meetings.

The ISC takes up about 46 acres and 370,000 square feet. But there is still room for it to grow. A large courtyard separates the two main wings, giving the school system some space to build an addition if necessary.

"I don't believe we'll outgrow this facility for a long, long time," said Bobby Crowson, the school system's chief of staff.

A new training center will serve as a multipurpose facility for meetings and professional development. It includes laptop outlets, wireless access and other technological support for presenters.

While one of the wings is still under construction, many of the support and administrative employees have already relocated to their new building. The school system has staggered its moving process so only 20 to 40 people move per day, three days per week. When the transition is complete in February, approximately 672 people will work there.

The ISC is located at 437 Old Peachtree Road in Suwanee. The school system's new main phone number is 678-301-6000.