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Building projects, improvements well underway for school system
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Construction of the Roger D. Slaton Agriscience Center is well underway at Dawson County High School and expected to be completed in the first three months of 2023. (Photos courtesy of Dawson County School System)

With students out of the Dawson County school buildings for the summer, school system administration and staff are hard at work on several building improvements and construction projects to help the schools in the district serve students even better than they already do. 

Assistant Superintendent of Operations Hershel Bennett said that the system’s two major projects, the multipurpose athletic building and the Roger D. Slaton agriscience center, are well underway, and construction crews have been making a great deal of progress this summer. 

“The two major projects we have going on are the multipurpose athletic building and the agriscience center,” Bennett said. “Carroll Daniel Construction Company has done a great job on this; we’re making progress as expected. Once it gets out of the ground and they get the frame up, it goes really really fast and it’s amazing how much change will occur if I’m over there one morning and I go back that afternoon.” 

The story continues below. 

Multipurpose Athletic Building 

The multipurpose athletic building will house a basketball court, locker rooms, restrooms and a state-of-the-art weight room for students to use during the day for weight training classes and fitness classes and for student athletes to use after school. The building is located between the high school, the performing arts center, the gym and the press box, making it a unique challenge to complete, Bennett said. 

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Construction of the multipurpose athletic building is well underway at Dawson County High School and expected to be completed in the first three months of 2023. (Photos courtesy of Dawson County School System)

“I’m sure many people saw the crane that had to lift all the steel structure and all the parts over the gym to put them in place,” Bennett said. “Many schools systems, had they built this, would have put it out in a parking lot somewhere or set it away from the school, but for our students this was the best place for it to get the maximum amount of use and so that’s where we put it even though it was a little bit more inconvenient in the build.” 

Currently, Bennett said that the steel framing is nearing completion, the walls are underway and electrical and plumbing installation is about 15 and 40 percent complete. 

“They have poured the second floor, the ceiling of the first floor and the floor of the second floor, so that’s good to go,” Bennett said. “It’s moving really really quick it seems like; it’s very efficient. We’ve had weather that’s cooperated and we’re making tremendous progress on that facility.” 

Once completed, the multipurpose athletic building will provide a plethora of opportunities to the students that the school wasn’t able to provide before. 

“It gives our teams opportunities not to practice so late at night, to have additional meeting spaces or practice locations if you’re an outdoor sport — so if baseball needs to throw and it’s windy and rainy and everything else they have a place they can go in and throw,” Bennett said. “It also gives some sports like cheerleading and wrestling a place to have practices rather than sharing one gym at the same time. And the weight room will help all our athletes and our students who aren’t necessarily athletes but are taking a weight training class as well.” 

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Construction of the multipurpose athletic building is well underway at Dawson County High School and expected to be completed in the first three months of 2023. (Photos courtesy of Dawson County School System)

The project is currently on track to be completed sometime in the first three months of 2023. 

Roger D. Slaton Agriscience Center

The Roger D. Slaton Agriscience Center, named in honor of late Dawson County Board of Education member Roger Slaton, is also well underway, Bennett said. 

“It will start moving a little bit faster even though it started a little later because it’s being brought in in pieces and put together,” Bennett said. 

Currently, the asphalt and paving is completed and the metal framing is up, and crews are working on the concrete block walls, he said. Electrical and plumbing work is about 25 percent completed. 

Once it is finished, the agriscience center will greatly expand the opportunities for the agricultural classes taught at the high school. It will house classrooms and a show barn, and the center will also include a pasture area to provide a dedicated area for the animals to spend time outside. 

“The AgScience center will open up a lot more opportunities for classes, we’ll be able to host show events, house more animals and have a greater teaching environment for our agriculture classes,” Bennett said. “With the State of Georgia approving agriculture science to be taught through elementary school now, we expect this program to continue to grow.” 

AgScience building 1.jpg
Construction of the Roger D. Slaton Agriscience Center is well underway at Dawson County High School and expected to be completed in the first three months of 2023. (Photos courtesy of Dawson County School System)

Like the multipurpose athletic building, the agriscience center is also currently on track to be completed sometime between January and March of 2023. 

Both projects being on track, Bennett said, is owed in part to the proactivity of the school system and the builders to get materials and supplies in ahead of time. 

“The good thing is we are on top of things — even though across the United States and the world are sometimes lagging behind, we are getting everything we need on time in order to be proactive and move on to the next step of the project,” Bennett said. 

Standard building improvements 

In addition to the two major building projects, the system is also working on a third project: school building maintenance in preparation for the students to return to school this fall. 

“We have our standard school building maintenance, so working on floors, new paint, getting classrooms ready, new technology being installed in classrooms, new radios being installed, lots of things like that — and we’re doing well with that,” Bennett said. 

New floors, moving away from the old floors that needed to be waxed, are being installed in classrooms, and painting is underway as well. During the “dead period” for athletics around the Fourth of July week, the wooden basketball floors will be refinished and sealed so they can cure and dry for basketball and volleyball workouts and practices. 

“A lot of the standard stuff is going well and I would like to give a lot of credit to Everett Burt and all the guys that work for him; he has a crew of seven guys and he’s handling the facilities,” Bennett said. “And Vickie Pafford is our administrative assistant at this department; they’ve done a great job making sure everything is scheduled and on time and getting done.”