Dawson County High School will soon be getting a boost to two of its athletic programs.
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 will be re-turfing 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 Board of Education E-SPLOST Project Manager Scott Morgan.
"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."
The board of education recently bonded out $15 million of the projected $36.5 million E-SPLOST to build the center, tennis courts and renovate the high school.
"The law specifically says what E-SPLOST funds can be used for," Morgan said. "We can use them for new construction projects and remodeling. It's very specific. We can't buy light bulbs, but we can replace entire fixtures and sets."
According to Morgan, the new tennis courts will have its own outdoor, fully-lit facility with restrooms and raised-style seating.
"These are going to be really nice tennis courts," he said. "I think it's something the school system will be proud of."
Morgan said that construction of the courts is tied to the arts center, which should begin within two weeks.
All construction, with the exception of the performing arts center, is estimated to be completed before the start of the 2015-16 school year.
Other work to the high school includes inside renovations, all designed to save the system - and taxpayers - money in the long term.
"We are replacing all of the HVAC, units in the building, as well as all of the ceiling tiles in the corridors, and we're installing LED lights in the corridors, too," Morgan said. "These are all cost-saving measures.
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 major program of the E-SPLOST V project will be a $13 million, 1,000 seat auditorium performing arts center. It 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.