New figures: Cost of new Booth $46 million; $40 million to renovate old Booth

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Seated at the dais at the Sept. 9 meeting of the Fayette County Board of Education were, from left, board members Brian Anderson and Barry Marchman, Superintendent Jody Barrow, Chairman Scott Hollowell and board members Roy Rabold and Leonard Presberg. Photo/Ben Nelms.
Seated at the dais at the Sept. 9 meeting of the Fayette County Board of Education were, from left, board members Brian Anderson and Barry Marchman, Superintendent Jody Barrow, Chairman Scott Hollowell and board members Roy Rabold and Leonard Presberg. Photo/Ben Nelms.

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.

3 COMMENTS

  1. And how does that compare with all public schools in Fayette County and SPLOST funding? Where can I find the comparisons, prices, and funds allocation for each item, please? Anyone have a Fayette County website page with ALL the details? I have not found such a detailed list.

  2. Hey Ben, would your headline be more honest if it were $40million minus the $7million from the feds for the old Booth renovation?

    And the new Booth would be $46million plus $1.85million for the land plus the cost of roadway improvements.

    So, to be honest with your own numbers – $33million to renovate the old Booth vs. $48.45 million for the new Booth on Robinson Road – no doubt being renamed for Dr. Barrow somehow.

    And to make the numbers look better, if you commit to renovate existing Booth you can sell that 37 acres for easily $3million if rezoned for residential and that reduces the real renovation cost of the existing Booth back down to $30 million. So now its $30million vs. $48million.

    You can easily add in another $5million for cost overruns and inefficiency and graft which usually follows government funded new construction and have a new headline.

    After all that its $30 million vs. $53million. Now Ben, isn’t that a more realistic headline?

    Of course someone will want me to reduce the new Booth price by whatever we will sell the old Booth school for. My estimate is $0 What’s yours?