Thirteen items have been listed as possible improvements to Madison County High School, including a new two-story wing that would add 22 classrooms and a new media center.
Other highlights of the wish list include adding a fine arts suite, new administration and counseling suites, a new school entrance, several lab renovations, expansions of the gym and cafeteria areas, placing a new roof on the main building and football field upgrades.
“We’ve been talking about a major facilities project from, I guess, the fall (board of education) retreat … It’s a big part of the strategic plan,” county school superintendent Dr. Mitch McGhee said at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.
Packages for improvements could range between $10-$30 million.
Of course, the economy could be a limiting factor in all this.
“The way the economy is right now, it certainly may impact what we’re able to do, much less what we want to do,” McGhee said.
The list of projects compiled by the high school’s “building leadership team, and “were not necessarily in priority order,” McGhee said.
McGhee and the school board didn’t discuss any of the items specifically.
The list will be sent to Charles Black Construction and Robertson, Loia and Roof who will attach approximate price tags to the different improvements.
“They’re going to give us an itemized, pretty good ball park price for each one of these things,” McGhee said.
School leaders will then meet with Knox Wall, a stock and bond brokerage firm, “to find out exactly what are ability to raise money is now,” McGhee said. A seven percent growth in SPLOST was projected a few months ago, but that outlook has likely changed with the economic downturn.
“I don’t think that’s going to be the case right now,” McGhee said. “We’ve got to revisit our ability to raise money.”
The school board will convene in the next couple of months to further discuss potential facility upgrades.
“Once I get the cost of all these things, and our ability to raise money, we’ll need to have to sit down and sit down and figure out what we want to do,” McGhee said.
Time is somewhat limited.
This fall is the last time local school boards have the freedom to take a referendum to the voters.
If the board wanted to shoot for a September referendum, it would have to finalize its plans by June.
“We’ve got time, but we don’t have forever,” McGhee said.
They need to look into revamping the entrance and bus pick-up/drop off design. They need a bus parking area. But then again, we have that at the new MS and the transportation dept. foolishly does not use the 15 spaces and instead lines the buses up all around the parking lot. A danger to students and visibility problem for drivers.
That list looks extravagant to say the least. I'm not sure this county needs all of those items especially in the current economic climate. I just recieved my school tax bill in the mail, and getting me to vote to spend more money will be an extremely hard sell.
01/24/09 at 05:30 PM
If Madison County had more businesses collecting sales taxes, you wouldn't have to foot the bill. However, since Madison County has residences instead of businesses, you do.
What Madison County needs is this high school to be renoveated and to have another completely new school to be built in order to serve the children in the manner in which they deserve.
You are getting off cheaply, Jones46. If Madison County did as it should, the bill would be much more.
Actually, if you had a Fair Tax in the form of a sales tax with NO exemptions you would pay much, much less and the local govts. would collect much, much more. Also, with a Fair Tax, the people who have children in the school system who currently pay no or almost no property taxes would no longer be able to dodge paying towards their childrens' education.
Or you also could implement a "per child" tax (yes, it's perfectly legal and other states have done this) where a percentage of the school taxes are paid based on how many children one has in school.
Begging for development and sprawl just to have sales tax dollars simply doesn't work. You have to have more people to attract more businesses. More people means you have to build more and more schools and provide more and more services, and this cycle actually results in MORE, HIGHER, (much more, much higher) property taxes. Just look at Athens-Clarke, Oconee, and any number of counties around Atlanta that have implemented this strategy. Property taxes have gone up exponentially in those counties, even as those counties have collected exponentially greater sales taxes from additional businesses from development. Doesn't work. Let's not repeat the mistakes of those places.
Good Point! I would definetly vote for this option. I have children in the school system and do not mind paying my portion of taxes each year. But, it would be nice if everyone contributed to the system not just a select few. I agree, you purchase something, you pay sales tax, does that apply to lottery tickets too????