School board answers on replacing Booth Middle School: Incomplete

11
1296
School bus parked at the current Booth Middle School. File Photo.
School bus parked at the current Booth Middle School. File Photo.

Biggest question remains: If Peachtree City refuses to pave the 2 city streets, how can the new school get built? — 

The Fayette County Board of Education on its website has provided some partial answers to questions posed at the Sept. 23 and Sept. 25 public hearings on the replacement school for Booth Middle School in Peachtree City. Conspicuously absent from the answers was pertinent information provided at the meeting by Peachtree City Mayor Vanessa Fleisch, which might have resulted in different answers than those posted by the school board.

The school board last week held two public meetings on building a replacement school for Booth Middle. The questions posed by the public, and the answers from the school board, can be found at www.fcboe.org.

Once on the site, click the Quick Link tab indicating the “eBoard Site” then click on the “Meetings” tab near the top of the page, then click on the 9/25 J.C. Booth Middle School Public Hearing. From there, click on the “J.C. Booth Middle School Presentation.” From there, the Q&A for the Sept. 23 and Sept. 25 public meetings can be accessed.

There are areas on the Q&A for the Sept. 25 meeting which include answers by the school board pertaining to road improvement questions which are, at the very least, incomplete. Those include:

Under the traffic and infrastructure considerations section of the Q&A:

Question 3. Given that FCBOE (school board) funds cannot be used for off premise road enhancement (per Georgia law), what specific, written commitments have been provided by the Peachtree City Council, the Fayette County Council and the State Department of Transportation for road improvement and construction?

Answer: There are no written commitments from either party at this time. This will be a work in progress over the next two years.

Question 4. How will the FCBOE ensure that the above-named funding entities will increase road funding, if needed, for road construction and improvement beyond existing commitments? How long does the FCBOE estimate it will take to induce these other governments to complete additional road projects to ensure access to the Replacement Middle School?

Answer: (See question 3 above.)

Under the cost considerations section of the Q&A:

Question 3. What prompted the FCBOE to purchase a parcel of land that has no existing road access, without first getting commitments from Peachtree City, Fayette County and the State Department of Transportation for road access?

Answer: Initial conversations regarding access to the property were shared with officials from Peachtree City. The city of Peachtree City will determine their next steps.

A problem with the answers to the three questions above is that they do not take into account a statement from Peachtree City which was read at the Sept. 25 meeting, involving a pivotal aspect of the proposed Booth replacement project. Peachtree City did take the “next step,” with Fleisch at the Sept. 25 meeting making the city’s position clear.

To review, the replacement school would be situated on the city’s far east side, between Carriage Lane off Ga. Highway 54 and Stagecoach Road off Robinson Road, approximately 500 feet from the intersection with Robinson and Hwy. 54.

Fleisch in a prepared statement to the school board said, “Please accept this letter as formal notice of our opposition to the Stagecoach Road/Carriage Lane location for the construction of a proposed new middle school. With very limited improvement options, this site will place an undue burden on the transportation network in the immediate vicinity. Based on our previous experience, traffic improvements can easily reach millions of dollars with limited impact on mobility within the corridor. No such funds are included in the current or future Peachtree City budgets. Further, we request that a comprehensive traffic study be conducted that incorporates the impact of the school, along with proposed new development in the area, before a final decision is made on the location of a new school.”

The statement read by Fleisch was one that will have a direct bearing on the proposed Stagecoach Road site for the Booth replacement school.

The city’s statement was pivotal because it would be up to Peachtree City to supply the funds to improve Carriage Lane and Stagecoach Road, since both are city streets, and because the school system is prohibited from spending funds outside school system property. Improvements could also be required by the Ga. Department of Transportation at Carriage Lane and Hwy. 54 and at the intersection at Robinson and Hwy. 54.

By way of example in terms of intersection improvement costs, the city recently completed the re-vamping of the intersections at Planterra Way at Hwy. 54 and at MacDuff Parkway at Hwy. 54. The work consisted of adding turn lanes on Planterra and MacDuff, both city streets.

The SPLOST (special purpose local option sales tax) funded projects took 3-4 years to bring to fruition at a cost of approximately $1.6 million.

Additionally, the traffic study for the replacement school, and funded by the school system, recommended using both Stagecoach and Carriage Lane for access to the school.

The traffic study also noted that a more intensive traffic study is required to be suitable for submission to the Ga. Department of Transportation (GDOT). For any improvements along a state route, GDOT requires an ICE (Intersection Control Evaluation) Analysis in addition to a traffic impact study. In addition to the more intensive traffic study, traffic signal modifications will be required by GDOT to make any improvements at the signalized intersections, the traffic study said.

The school board in the Sept. 25 Q&A said, “We have asked the civil engineering firm to contact the Georgia Department of Transportation regarding improvements recommended with the turn lanes on Carriage Lane and Georgia Highway 54.”

With Peachtree City’s intent clear, it remains to be seen what direction the school board will take on the question of the replacement school.

Also in the mix, which presumably would be known prior to the school board making a decision, is the GDOT position on any required traffic improvements on Hwy. 54, along with associated costs and the time frame involved.

Photo shows a portion of Stagecoach Road seen from its intersection with Robinson Road. Photo/Ben Nelms.
Photo shows a portion of Stagecoach Road seen from its intersection with Robinson Road. Photo/Ben Nelms.

11 COMMENTS

  1. Good headline Ben or Cal – Incomplete. That says it all.

    Pushing for a traffic study won’t help. I’ve already done one and gave it to the Booth math students to review elsewhere on these pages. Pretty grim and more study won’t make the 3196 traffic trips go away. It might lead to another question, so far unasked. And that is – How come Booth currently handles that middle school traffic with only minor disruptions? 3-part answer. 1. Booth has fewer students and less trips, but even if it had 3196, it could handle them better than the Stagecoach (what an appropriate name for that road) site. 2. Booth is on a 4-lane road , Peachtree Parkway. That makes the AM 4,000 foot turning lane feasible. The right lane of the Parkway southbound is full of students too busy or too cool to use the school bus and their compliant parents. 3. The PM rush is handled professionally by the crossing guards and traffic moves away from and past the school fairly well. Also, for the impatient thru traveler, there are alternatives to get around Booth – McIntosh, Windgate and the infamous Waterwood Bend bypass/speed trap.

    None of that is possible with the Stagecoach site. Instead they will have to do something dramatic. Two possibilities are to FOUR-LANE ROBINSON AND POSSIBLE STAGECOACH or ban parent delivery and pick up and force the students to ride the bus. Pick your poison. The penalties for not planning ahead are pretty severe.

    Don’t like those choices? Then start looking at a Booth rebuild. Site too small, you say? Look again, once you realize the football field is no longer needed, it becomes a building site for a 3-level building around a central outdoor atrium.

    • Funny how just across the street, McIntosh HS with its 1700 +/- students dumps into the two-lane Walt Banks and somehow they handle the traffic – they even have crossing guards, imagine that.

      I do have to say that the naysayers are right about one thing – the issues with intersection upgrades should have been discussed with PTC long, long ago. Beyond that, the greater percentage of the people whining about this are the retired folks who don’t have children in the system anymore or never did. You know the ones – the very citizens that get a break on their school taxes and have forgotten that their home values are directly tied to this school system. These are the same citizens that won’t even be out on the streets in the morning when these schools are starting their day.

          • I agree, the non-taxpaying senior citizens should not be allowed to vote on any issue regarding schools, nor should non-taxpaying renters or tax-takers like those on welfare or taking food stamps or Section 8 housing be allowed to vote on anything at all.

            I guess you may want to suppress the right of free speech of all those same people as well. Okay dokey, you truly are Living amongst Morons as there must be one looking back at you in the mirror when you shave (or not) in the AM or after noon when you get upon your mother’s basement.

      • So pay taxes for 50 years and then can’t vote?

        I oppose the location because it’s stupid. If you were on Facebook you would see a list of legal and other reasons against.

        The BOE cannot do the roads.

        It does not impact outside of Peachtree City regarding students and traffic.

        That most assuredly impacts all age groups.

        • When and where did I make the statement that you weren’t entitled to an opinion or a vote? Your friend, Robby made that assumption, not me. I merely indicated which group was making the most stink. This same scenario plays and has played out all across the country. It’s the same old song and dance. It’s nothing new.

          By the way, we ALL know that BOE cannot do the roads. You saying it over and over and over again, doesn’t change that. In regards to your last two sentences, they definitely need a do-over.