School board continues discussion of Booth Middle School’s future —
The Fayette County Board of Education had another discussion on Booth Middle School in Peachtree City at its Sept. 9 work session. With a decision a few weeks away, the board will decide on a complete transformation of the existing school or the construction of a new school on Stagecoach Road.
Latest figures showed that Option 1, a complete “transformation” of the existing school at its current location on South Peachtree Parkway carries an estimated cost of nearly $40 million, though approximately $7 million in capital outlay reimbursements could be received from the state.
School system Facilities Director Mike Satterfield in commenting on Option 1 said the comprehensive transformation would include things such as expanding the existing school, relocating the football field and re-working that parking and entrance areas.
“You wouldn’t even know this had been Booth. Option 1 would leave only the steel and concrete. (The school) would be good for another 40 years,” Satterfield said.
Chairman Scott Hollowell concerned that the 1-2-year work to transform Booth would be problematic for student learning.
Figures for Option 2 that would construct a new school showed a cost approximately $46 million.
The school board earlier this year paid an additional $1.85 million to purchase 37 acres off Robinson Road, between Stagecoach Road and Carriage Lane, for the possible site of the new Booth.
Old or new, Booth will be configured to handle 1,400 students. The existing school has a capacity of 1,100 students.
Assistant Superintendent Tom Gray said E-SPLOST (education special purpose local option sales tax) revenues could be involved in the cost of construction.
While Hollowell and board members Leonard Presberg, Brian Anderson and Roy Rabold on Sept. 9 spoke favorably about building a new Booth off Robinson Road, Satterfield commented about the anticipated cost to improve Stagecoach Road and Carriage Lane to accommodate traffic on the two small city streets.
The school system cannot spend money to improve city streets. That responsibility would fall to Peachtree City, with Satterfield citing a potential cost in the range of $600,000.
Another possibility would be to have a developer purchase property to the east toward Ebenezer Road for new homes, then connect that development to new Booth site.
Satterfield could not estimate what that cost would be.
A financial problem with that approach is that the developer would have to construct a bridge over Camp Creek to access the school property. The approval process to construct bridges can be both costly and time-consuming.
As for Peachtree City potentially picking up the tab for improving Stagecoach Road and Carriage Lane, City Manager Jon Rorie after the meeting said the City Council has not been officially approached by the school system.
On the question of improving the city streets if asked by the school board, Rorie said, “I think that will create a traffic problem in the future that the city will be expected to be the solution for.”
It is noteworthy that Carriage Lane, a dead-end street, intersects with Ga. Highway 54 at Walt Banks Road.
Stagecoach Road, also a dead-end street, intersects at Robinson Road, less then 500 feet from Robinson’s intersection with Hwy. 54.
Superintendent Jody Barrow near the end of the Sept. 9 discussion said the coming weeks will be used for community members to weigh in on the topic. The board is expected to make a decision at the Sept. 23 meeting or sometime in October.