State approves land for NHS replacement

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- The Georgia Department of Education has approved the site for the Newton County School System to build a replacement for Newton High School.

NCSS announced at its monthly work session earlier this month that the GaDOE approved the site late last month. The approval is required by law and ensures school sites are free from conditions that might endanger the life, safety and health of students, explained Dennis Carpenter, deputy superintendent for Operations at NCSS.

In December, NCSS closed on the purchase of nearly 118 acres of land on Crowell Road North.

NCSS acquired the two parcels of land for $2,276,600, or $19,331 per acre, with capital project funds. These funds only may be used 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 banked 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.

An invitation bid for site work for the project is being advertised until April 7, and a mandatory pre-bid conference is scheduled for Thursday. Contractor's will work with the NCSS architectural firm, Cunningham, Forehand, Matthews & Moore Architects Inc., according to the bid.

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 in a lower-grades theme school to the current EHS facility, according to its facilities plan that the school board approved last year.

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