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System plans for new school

COVINGTON -- The Newton County School System continues to plan for its 15th elementary school.

In November, NCSS closed on the purchase of more than 80 acres of land in the northwest corner of the county near the intersection of Airport Road and Ga. Highway 142 for more than $1 million.

NCSS already is planning to place the new elementary school on that property, and system officials also are looking at the possibility of putting other facilities on the remaining portion of land in the future.

"The elementary school is the only school that is on a schedule," said Dr. Dennis Carpenter, deputy superintendent at NCSS.

NCSS and the Newton County Board of Education asked architects to see if other facilities could properly fit on the remaining portion of the land.

Architects presented to the Newton County Board of Education in December drawings that would allow for a high school or baseball fields and practice fields on the property, and they also have presented plans that included a middle school and a stadium on the property, but no action has been taken on any other facility to add to current plans.

Carpenter said he expects the elementary school to go out for bid in March, which could allow approval from the school board in April.

If that is the case, preconstruction is expected to begin in late April, allowing construction to begin in early May. The school could be complete by the end of May 2011 in order to open it for the 2011-12 school year.

Architects have planned for a two-story layout with separate entrances for bus and parent pick-up areas.

Carpenter said the estimated cost of the school is $18 million if the facility is built for 1,000 students, with core facilities for 1,500 students. An alternate bid also will be taken to determine the cost of building the school for 1,500 students.

Funding comes from state and special purposes local option sales tax revenues, which only can be used for projects approved by the state and previously voted on by Newton County residents.