Replacement for Newton High School: Site work for facility to begin

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- Over the next several days, crews are expected to start clearing the site that will eventually house a replacement for Newton High School.

At the monthly work session of the Newton County Board of Education earlier this month, the school board members unanimously approved A.L. Grading Contractors Inc. of Suwanee to complete the site work for the low bid of $2,357,974.

The bids, which were opened on April 7, ranged from the low bid to the high bid of nearly $3.5 million by N.J. Wilbanks Contractor Inc. of Canton.

"Some (companies) use their own equipment and some have to rent it," said Dennis Carpenter, deputy superintendent of the Newton County School System, about the fluctuation in the bidding.

No local businesses bid on the project.

Carpenter expected site work to be completed by Aug. 1. The general contract is expected to be bid in mid-July for construction to begin during the first week of August, Carpenter said.

"Given the aggressive time line for completing this project, the site work bid was separated from the total project," he said.

In February, the Georgia Department of Education approved the site, which is made up of 118 acres of land on Crowell Road North.

NCSS purchased two parcels of land for $2,276,600, or $19,331 per acre, with capital project funds. These funds may be used only for the purposes of building a new facility and not for materials or operation of any schools, as required by state law, Carpenter has said.

The land, which was bank-owned and previously foreclosed on after being abandoned as an undeveloped neighborhood, already is supplied with water and sewer and offers two entrances. It is part of the old Harold Dobbs farm and fronts both Crowell and Jack Neely roads.

Last year, the school board approved a resolution for the GaDOE to phase out Newton High School, along with Ficquett and Palmer Stone elementary schools, from state funding in order to earn more money for the system by building new schools.

Contractor's will work with the NCSS architectural firm, Cunningham, Forehand, Matthews & Moore Architects Inc. on the project.

The school is scheduled to open in time for the start of the 2013-14 school year.

Later, perhaps in 2017, NCSS plans to build a replacement building for Eastside High School and move a lower-grades theme school to the current EHS facility, according to a facilities plan that the school board approved last year.

NCSS is building an elementary school, Flint Hill Elementary School, on Airport Road near Ga. Highway 142, and the Newton College and Career Academy adjacent to the Newton High School property on Ram Drive.