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Board of ed approves land purchase
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During Monday night's meeting, the Dawson County Board of Education unanimously approved the purchase of land on Elliott Family Parkway for future use by the school system.

The land acquisition of 40.8 acres at 1650 Elliott Family Parkway had previously been discussed during the board's planning retreat on Nov. 30.

"The land is located in an area of the county that will allow us to better serve the future needs of our community," said Superintendent Damon Gibbs during the meeting.

There was no more discussion of the purchase other than to approve it at a sales price of roughly $8,000 per acre, totaling $326, 720, pending appraisal. The funds for the purchase will be provided through ESPLOST monies.

ESPLOST is the education special purpose local option sales tax.

In March 2015 Dawson County voters approved a new five year ESPLOST. The 1-cent sales tax originally dates back to November 2009.

The motion and second were carried unanimously to allow Gibbs to sign the sales contract and closing documents.

Gibbs said there are currently no specific plans for the use of the property and that it is designated for future growth.

He cited growth along the 400 corridor, as well as growth even within the city limits, and the way those impact schools in the area. Eventually there could be a need for a school north of the city.

He also said that the implication is not that there is a growth in housing north of the city, it is merely property that could be used for a school site as a result of growth elsewhere.

"It could be five years from now, it could be 10 years," Gibbs said. "We serve the needs of our community and we are going to educate our children."

According to Gibbs, the school system currently has 250 kids in Dawson County Schools that live north of Hwy. 53 and Hwy. 9.

During an update on the state of the schools during an August Dawson County Chamber of Commerce lunch, Gibbs lauded the realignment of the schools that began in phase one during this school year, as it has provided space for as many as 2,000 more students.

Gibbs made clear that there is no timeline in place for building a new school, only that the board of education wants to be in a position to meet the needs when the time comes.