Newton school board approves road expansion for new high school

COVINGTON -- The Newton County Board of Education approved this week a plan to expand part of the road that will lead to the new Newton High School being built on Crowell Road.

During a special called meeting on Tuesday, the school board approved a contract with Wyatt Farms to expand the road. School board member Eddie Johnson was absent from the meeting.

School board attorney Kent Campbell said the Newton County School System will trade two strips of land that is .8 of an acre in for certain access.

The Wyatt family will be given the right to tie into the water and sewer lines, and they also will be given access to four curb cuts after Sept. 1, 2013, after the school is expected to be certified to be occupied.

The family already has removed a fence on the south side of the property, and a fence on the western side will be allowed to stay unless it is later necessary to remove it, Campbell said.

The school board also would have a stormwater easement on the farm land.

Campbell would not provide a copy of the contract, as the Wyatt family has not yet signed it, he said on Tuesday. As of press time Wednesday, NCSS still had not provided a copy of the contract.

The site is located on nearly 118 acres of land on Crowell Road North that also fronts Jack Neely Road, which was purchased by the Newton County School System for about $2.3 million. The land was previously bank owned and foreclosed on after being abandoned as an undeveloped neighborhood.

A.L. Grading Contractors Inc. of Suwanee completed the site work for about $2.4 million, and McKnight Construction Company Inc. of Augusta is the general contractor for construction of the school building for $42.6 million.

The site is expected to house a two-story building, bus parking and two parking lots, as well as athletic and practice fields and a sports complex; it also could hold a stadium in the future.

Last year, the school board approved a resolution for the Georgia Department of Education to phase out the current NHS building from state funding in order to earn more money for the system to build newer schools. The system still could use the building, as it does with other buildings phased out of state funding, but only local funding can be used to repair or update the school building.

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