Construction of $45 million replacement for Booth Middle School to begin in next couple of months —
While governments across the country are worrying about the Covid-19 interruption of the economy and its effect on tax revenue, the Fayette County School System is pushing ahead with spending in the neighborhood of $45 million in mostly locally collected tax revenue for a controversial new middle school in eastern Peachtree City.
And while all classrooms in all Fayette schools are empty as students and teachers practice distance learning and with no re-start date known at this time, the school administration and Board of Education expects to start construction on the replacement of the existing Booth Middle School within the next couple of months.
An April 13 update to the Fayette County Board of Education on the new $45 million Booth Middle School included a report that site preparation work on the school property in Peachtree City is progressing. Construction on the new school is expected is begin in late May or early June.
Superintendent Jody Barrow noted that the land disturbance permit was approved, the installation of erosion control measures has been completed, trees and stumps have been removed and the house at 110 Carriage Lane has been removed.
Barrow on April 16 said that, along with mass grading, drain pipes and sewer lines are going in, along with land preparation for the connector road from Carriage Lane to Stagecoach Road.
“The land prep is underway and we are making good progress,” Barrow said. “We feel good about the work happening at the site.”
School system Facilities Director Mike Satterfield said construction on the school is expected to begin in late May or early June, with the completion expected in December 2021.
Pertaining to the intersection work at Ga. Highway 54 and Carriage Lane that will be needed to accommodate traffic at the school, Barrow said that will be a decision by the Ga. Department of Transportation (DOT), along with discussions by Peachtree City.
“We can only control what happens on school system property,” Barrow said, adding that the school system is focusing on the land preparation and construction of the school.
Asked about the development of the new Booth, Peachtree City Manager Jon Rorie said the city’s position has not changed, adding that the Hwy. 54 intersection with Carriage Lane is the responsibility of DOT given that Hwy. 54 is a state-owned roadway that requires DOT action if an upgrade to the intersection is forthcoming.
Peachtree City Mayor Vanessa Fleisch at the school board’s Sept. 25 meeting said the City Council was opposed to the location of the new school.
Fleisch’s statement was pivotal because it would be up to Peachtree City to supply the funds to improve Carriage Lane since the school system is prohibited from spending funds outside school system property. Fleisch also noted that improvements could also be required by DOT at Carriage Lane and Hwy. 54.
By way of example, the city recently completed the re-vamping of the intersections at Planterra Way at Hwy. 54 and 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. Currently, all city projects to be SPLOST-funded are already allocated.