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School board approves purchase
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The Dawson County School Board Monday night unanimously approved the purchase of two buildings at a cost of $1.3 million.

Board member Will Wade, senior vice president with First Citizens Bank, recused himself from the vote.

The buildings are located on 2.5 acres in the Food Lion shopping center in downtown Dawsonville and total 13,700 square feet. The schools existing administrative facilities on Allen Street are 6,750 square feet.

This transaction will provide for the needs of the system for decades to come, said Dawson County School Superintendent Keith Porter. We have plans to develop a professional learning center in the main building that will include an area for teachers to access instructional resources and work on advanced degrees. Also, the auxiliary building will be used extensively for professional learning activities and system meetings for teachers and staff.

For our system to have an area that can become a learning hub for our employees is exciting, Porter said.

Immediately upon approval, the board agreed to deposit $20,000 in earnest money to hold the building until closing, currently scheduled for the first or second week of May.

Porter also noted that the board is developing a timeline for its move and would like to have the transition completed by the beginning of the next school year.

Funds to pay for the purchase come from part of E-LOST (Education Local Option Sales Tax) revenues, which were approved by 77 percent of Dawson County taxpayers in 2009. The funds cannot be used for any purpose except acquisition, construction and equipment for the school system.

The buildings were once listed at more than $3 million.

At a school board work session held April 8, board members discussed an easement for a road from Hwy. 53 that runs along the property, the presence of a storm drain and changing a quit claim deed to a limited warranty deed.

Our attorneys have vetted this as much as they can, Porter said. We talked abut every issue thats come up, and they have been resolved. Everything has checked out.

Dawsonville Mayor James Grogan said earlier he is excited about the move.

In the city we already have Dawson County High School and middle school, Robinson Elementary and Hightower Academy. It makes good sense for the schools administrative offices to be here, too. And, theyve always been good neighbors, Grogan said.

Lanier Technical College opened a $5 million campus in 2012, adding to the citys educational resources.

This is great because it may cause others to look at the different buildings weve got open, he added. Theres retail space available around the Food Lion ....