Lanier Middle School
6482 Suwanee Dam Road; Sugar Hill, GA 30518
Years Principal 1973–1974 Garland Shumake 1974–1975 Elsie Roberts 1975–1996 Charles Crawford 1996–2004 Dr. Richard Holland 2004–2014 Jaime Espinosa 2014–Feb. 2018 Todd Hamilton Feb. 2018–Present Bryce Fulcher
School Colors: Orange, Black, and White
School Mascot: Longhorns
Board of Education
Dr. Robert McClure - Chairman
Louise Radloff - Vice Chairman
Carole C. Boyce
Dr. Mary Kay Murphy
Daniel D. Seckinger
CEO/Superintendent: J. Alvin Wilbanks
Architect: Stevens and Wilkinson Stang and Newdow
Contractor: Piedmont Construction, Inc.
Dedication Date: 2008
Lanier Middle School was built as a result of a School Board policy adopting the middle school philosophy as a way to address the crowded conditions at the elementary and high school levels. The name “Lanier” was chosen due to its close proximity to one of Gwinnett’s most popular recreational areas, Lake Sidney Lanier.
Lanier Middle’s original campus was originally located on a 20-acre tract of land in Buford, Georgia, on Highway 23, one mile south of the intersection with Highway 20. It opened in the fall of 1973, serving the children and families of Suwanee, Sugar Hill, and northern Gwinnett County west of Interstate 85.
Originally, Lanier’s building included a single hallway, gymnasium, a black-topped area for parking and playground, ball fields, and tennis courts. The classroom building consisted of three “quads” or 12 classrooms, a double art room, specialized labs for science classes, a home economics classroom, an industrial arts classroom, band room, special education classroom with a mirrored observation area; media center, lunchroom, and offices.
Scheduled to open in the fall of 1973, construction was not complete until October. From August to October, Lanier students were temporarily housed in available spaces in their original schools. Lanier opened its doors for the first time to more than 600 students under the leadership of principal Garland Shumake. Twenty-five full-time certified teachers were employed to teach the sixth and seventh graders from Harmony, Sugar Hill, and Suwanee elementary schools and the eighth graders from North Gwinnett High School.
Mrs. Elsie Roberts followed Mr. Shumake as principal during the 1974–75 school year. In 1975, Charles Crawford became principal, leading the Lanier Middle School Cougars for more than two decades.
The spring of 1977 brought the addition of three more “quads” or 12 classrooms to Lanier’s main building. The Cougar, and blue and gold, remained Lanier’s mascot and colors until students voted to adopt North Gwinnett High School’s mascot and colors (bulldog and the colors of red, black, and white) during the 1997–98 school year.
Northern Gwinnett County experienced tremendous residential growth through the 1980s and 1990s. As a result, a third building program in 1991–92 added a new wing of classrooms perpendicular to the original building and added 21 more classrooms, including four science lab rooms, and additional office space. The original cafeteria also was expanded to accommodate the school’s increasing enrollment. During this period of growth, portable classrooms were used to accommodate the growing number of students. Up to 50 portables were used until January 2000 when a fourth addition, a twostory classroom building, added 35 additional classrooms, three additional computer labs, a larger band room, and a second gymnasium. The school’s cafeteria also received a third enlargement. During this period, the Board of Education acquired additional land to expand the PE field and faculty and staff parking.
Additionally, two new elementary schools, Riverside and Sycamore, were built in the area during these years to accommodate the growing community. Students from these schools attended Lanier.
Additional personnel changes occurred throughout these years as well. Mr. Crawford retired after the 1995–96 school year and was succeeded by Dr. Richard Holland.
By 2003–04, Lanier’s enrollment had grown to 2,910 students, nearly 1,000 students over its capacity. Sixty portable classrooms were utilized to house classes.
Change has been a constant factor at Lanier through the years and the future promised even more. A new middle school, Glenn C. Jones Middle, opened in August 2004 to relieve Lanier. With the opening of Jones Middle, that school and Harmony Elementary left the North Gwinnett Cluster to join the Mill Creek Cluster. At the same time, Hull Middle School in Duluth relieved Lanier of students living south of McGinnis Ferry Road. Mr. Jaime Espinosa began his tenure as principal at Lanier in 2004–05, succeeding Dr. Holland, who had accepted the principal post at the new Jones Middle.
Even with this relief, Lanier soon was once again over-capacity. The school was relieved by the construction of two new middle schools— a replacement for Lanier Middle and the new North Gwinnett Middle.
Mr. Espinosa led the school through this growth and a big move, as the school relocated to its new facility in August of 2008. At that time, more than 2,700 students and almost 200 teachers occupied both the present middle school facility and what is now White Oak Elementary School. (Sixth graders were housed in what is now the elementary school and seventh and eighth graders were in the new middle school.) The following year, North Gwinnett Middle opened and Lanier Middle went through another redistricting process to provide relief to its burgeoning student enrollment. In August of 2009, Lanier Middle joined the Lanier Cluster, adopting a new mascot and colors— the Lanier Middle School Longhorns.
In 2014, Todd Hamilton became the principal of the school. Under his leadership, the school continued its work to provide personalized instruction to students resulting in high achievement. Mr. Hamilton announced his retirement in February of 2018 and the Board of Education appointed Bryce Fulcher to lead Lanier Middle School.
Throughout the years, Lanier has been fortunate to have had the support and involvement of its families and community. That continues today as the school community focuses on turning learners into successful leaders.