School board OKs new site for Booth Middle School

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After months of discussion, the Fayette County Board of Education on March 11 voted unanimously to move forward with plans to build a new Booth Middle School on the recently-acquired 37-acre property on Stagecoach Road near Robinson Road in Peachtree City. Plans to re-open Tyrone Elementary School will be considered at a later date.

The voting item at the March 11 workshop had narrowed a field of possible options to two – renovating Booth Middle and Tyrone Elementary or building a new Booth and renovating Tyrone. The recommendation by Superintendent Jody Barrow dealt only with building a new campus for Booth and leaving Tyrone out of the equation for the time being.

“Based on conversations with the board and hearing your conversations, I think we’re at the point where we’re ready to recommend Option 2,” Barrow said, referencing the construction of a new school on the recently-acquired Stagecoach Road property off Ga. Highway 54 near Walt Banks Road and Robinson Road.

During the discussion, but prior to the vote, Chairman Scott Hollowell asked, “For clarity, (Option 2) does not include Tyrone.”

Barrow confirmed that it did not include Tyrone Elementary.

Expanding on his response, Barrow said, “There will be other decisions that we can make. What we’ve been doing is talking about a lot of things. Questions have come up. We’ve tried to answer those questions. We can refocus after we’re able to make a decision about what’s going to happened with Booth. Tyrone is a possibility, but that’s down the road. And what we do with the old Booth is a question we’ll have to answer down the road.”

A motion to move forward with a request for proposal (RFP), design work and subsequently receiving bids was followed by a 5-0 vote.

It was noted by Barrow that the vote gives the school system the direction to move forward and return to the board, if costs are in-line with expectations, for an eventual vote on the new construction.

While the motion did not commit to constructing a new school, the significant likelihood is that, barring variables such as significant cost increases, the board will vote to build the new Booth Middle School.

For those unfamiliar with the way the school board phrases motions for many projects, including large capital projects, the language used on March 11 was not uncommon.

An example of that wording came several years ago when the board relocated the bus barn from the central office area in downtown Fayetteville to the Whitewater complex. Direction was given to put out the RFP for the project, then the item returned for approval.

Preliminary estimates to construct the new middle school totaled $36.7 million, in addition to $3.3 million from state funds. Additionally, Booth in 2018 was assessed with a value of $12.5 million. Future uses for the existing school have not been determined.

Pertaining to Tyrone, the town plans to begin installing sewer along Senoia Road in the fall, which will accommodate the new municipal complex to be built across from Shamrock Park, along with other areas of Senoia Road, including Tyrone Elementary School. A major reason for the school’s closure several years ago was the lack of sewer access combined with a failing septic system.