The Dawson County Board of Education opened the doors on its new downtown central office Monday.
During its April 15 board meeting, the school board voted 3-0 to purchase the two vacant buildings from Community & Southern Bank. The 13,700 square foot building at 28 Main St. was purchased for $1.3 million through ELOST funds.
The central office was previously located on Allen Street. It will continue to be manned, according to Dawson County School Superintendent Keith Porter, but mainly used as storage.
The former bank building houses the central office, with reception areas, offices and eventually the board of education meeting room located downstairs and more offices located upstairs. The former Community Center will now be known as the Professional Development Center.
"We are excited about having the two buildings, and the opportunity to provide more adequate spaces to serve our teachers, staff, parents and students," Porter said. "The Dawson County Professional Development Center has already been the host site for our new teacher orientation, bus drivers meeting, and special education lead teacher meeting. We believe that it will be used extensively to accommodate various school and non-profit groups as we move forward."
A new central office was among the projects voters approved in November 2009, when they agreed to a five-year extension of the 1-cent sales tax for education. The 2009 referendum passed with 77.7 percent of the vote.
"The two-story arrangement is different than our other facility, but we have tried to make sure that those who receive the most visitors are easily assessable on the lower level," Porter said.
"Therefore, the finance, school psychologist, personnel and curriculum departments are located on the lower level. We have waiting areas on both floors for the public as well."
The Allen Street location will be used for board of education work sessions and meetings until construction on the new conference room is completed in October.