At the Oct. 6 work session of the Dawson County Board of Education, Superintendent Damon Gibbs and board members discussed the design process of a new 60-acre agriculture and multi-use facility that is coming to Dawson County High School.
According to Gibbs, the two new buildings would serve specific purposes to help advance what can be done on the high school campus.
“The first is the AgriScience center at Dawson County High School; this facility will allow our agriculture program and FFA (Future Farmers of America) to expand and serve a greater number of students in the district,” Gibbs said. “The second is a multi-purpose facility; this facility will be used daily for physical education classes and become the home of cheerleading and wrestling.”
According to Gibbs, the new buildings are part of the 2020 ESPLOST, which was approved by Dawson County citizens earlier this year.
“These are some projects that were approved by the citizens of our county when they approved ESPLOST 2020, and some of our signature projects in that ESPLOST included an agriculture facility as well as a multi-use facility at the high school,” Gibbs said.
Gibbs said that many steps go into a project like this one, and they all start with getting funding approved.
“We paused a little bit on this because of the COVID-19 situation and the uncertainty of the economy, so now that things have stabilized a little bit we have the funding in place to do this,” Gibbs said.
The next step according to Gibbs is for board members to approve the projects and the design firm, Roberson Loia Roof, PC, to move forward with all design work for both of the new facilities and any projects that may be impacted.
“Currently, we’re not a hundred percent sure where those facilities will sit on campus, so if the design firm determines that something has to be relocated as a result of one of these facilities we don’t want to have to pause that design process to come back to the board, which might cost us time,” Gibbs said.
In addition to approving the project and the design firm to start designing the facilities, Gibbs also presented the board with a facility site application and a capital outlay project application, both of which the board must approve before submission.
“Any time now that you do modifications to your facilities on any campus, the Department of Education and the State Department has to do a facility site application,” Gibbs said. “So we have to submit that to get state approval to build these projects.”
The capital outlay project application will help the school system qualify for a reimbursement of funds for the agriculture facility upon completion of the project. The system is requesting $120,981 from the state for the project.
“It’s not a tremendous amount of money for a construction project, but we have about a hundred thousand dollars we can qualify to earn on the agriculture facility,” Gibbs said. “So that application piece is to ask the state to reimburse us for those funds once that project is complete.”
According to Gibbs, the hope is that the process can be completed and construction begun by spring of 2021, and that the facilities will be completed sometime in mid-2022.
“These facilities will significantly improve the way we serve the children of Dawson County and I look forward to continuing our pursuit of excellence,” Gibbs said.
The board members will vote at the next board meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 13 to approve or deny moving ahead with the design work for the project, the facility site application and the capital outlay project application.