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Summer renovations wrapping up at DCHS
Construction finishing just in time for start of 2015 classes
A-Renovations pic 1
School Superintendent Damon Gibbs, far right, walks members of the board of education through the newly-renovated high school, showing off additions such as the refurbished cafeteria and the new LED lights. - photo by David Renner Dawson Community News

With the final week of summer on the horizon, the Dawson County Board of Education is putting the finishing touches on renovations going on in the system.

The major work has been at Dawson County High School.

As part of the five-year Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax voters approved the new in March of this year, the high school replaced several aging pieces of equipment around the school.

"We [replaced] all of the HVAC, units in the building, as well as all of the ceiling tiles in the corridors, and we [installed] LED lights in the corridors, too," said Board of Education E-SPLOST Project Manager Scott Morgan. "By replacing the old corridor lights with LED lights, there is a huge savings [in energy costs], as well as maintenance. These are 20 year bulbs, so, in theory, a lot of the maintenance cost is gone, as well."

The high school also renovated the kitchen area, redesigning the food distribution lines and serving areas. A concession stand and bathroom area was also built in the second floor of the gymnasium for use during games.

Outside, the high school has re-turfed its football field with NFL-grade materials, as well as adding a "cool play" system to the turf that will allow the field temperature to be lowered by as much as 20 degrees in the summer, according to.

"We're using a company called FieldTurf to redo the field," Morgan said. "We'll also be moving the tennis courts across the [on-campus] road to the left-side, as part of the new performing arts center construction, since the current tennis courts are on the building's site."

According to Morgan, the new tennis courts will have its own outdoor, fully-lit facility with restrooms and raised-style seating.

As for long term projects, the board bonded out $13 million of the projected $36.5 million E-SPLOST funds to build a 1,000 seat performing arts center.

The center will house the school's art, drama, chorus and band programs.

Currently, the high school has a stage inside the main building where the drama department performs. The chorus and band rooms are also connected to practice areas with the art gallery located in a small room adjacent to the practice rooms.

"This building will house the art, drama, chorus and band programs. It is planned to go where the tennis courts currently are, adjacent to the gymnasium," said School Superintendent Damon Gibbs. "The stage will sit in the back of the auditorium with hallways and rooms connecting dressing rooms in the back and stage entrance. It's going to be a beautiful facility."

Also included in the system's renovations is a new HVAC unit for Black's Mill Elementary.

All construction, with the exception of the performing arts center and tennis courts, will be completed before the start of the 2015-16 school year. The tennis courts will be finished in time for the 2016 tennis season.