FORT VALLEY -- After announcing the proposed site for a new Peach County High School, the school board scheduled an informational session for Thursday.
Board members pointed to a property the board currently has an option to buy on Ga. 49 for a new Peach County High School. The land is located near the intersection with Moseley Road. The property also is commonly called Hancock Farms.
While the 100-acre property is closer to the center of the county, board Chairman Ben McDaniel said it still is in the Fort Valley water and utilities district and would have a Fort Valley address.
“I think it’s a prime spot for a high school for the county,” he said.
The announcement came after a pair of Fort Valley residents -- Charlie Adams and Daniel Dawsey -- addressed the board, both with concerns about the referendum for an education special purpose local option sales tax to pay for the new school.
Adams presented the board with a letter outlining his questions about the referendum, which will be on the ballot March 17.
“If the board does not have the answers to the following questions, they should be determined and considered prior to the call for a special election,” he said, reading the letter aloud.
The questions were mainly related to funding for the project, as compared with the cost to renovate the existing school building. Adams also wanted to know how much money had been spent on improvements at the current school as well as the future of that location.
Adams also called the decision to move the new school to the center of the county a “controversial” one.
“A new high school will cause real injury to Fort Valley and no apparent benefit to Byron, where a new charter high school is already being established,” Adams said.
Dawsey’s comments dealt directly with a lack of information he had seen given to the public.
“I’d like to request, like Mr. Adams did, complete transparency to the citizens about this new high school,” he said.
One of Dawsey’s main concerns was that Peach County residents, with six weeks left until the referendum, had not been provided with a precise location of the proposed school. School officials revealed the proposed location after he spoke. In addition to announcing the location, board members said information had previously been kept private for legal reasons during the negotiating process.
“We want to be transparent. We’re not trying to hide anything,” McDaniel said.
As for the current high school, the board pointed to safety concerns as well as the magnitude of repairs needed on the 40-year-old facility. B.J. Walker said aging pipes had become an issue in the restrooms.
“You can’t dig up an entire school to fix a sewer system,” he said.
To further address residents’ concerns, the board scheduled an information session for the public to be at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Peach County High School auditorium.
Board members also voted unanimously to move Trojan Academy, a school for the county’s ninth-graders, back to the Peach County High campus, where it was from 2006-2010.
From 2012 until this school year, the academy has been located at the old Hunt Middle School, which required some students to travel back and forth between the two campuses for classes.
“The kids lose time, unloading and trying to get to their class,” board member Virginia Dixon said.
The wing of Peach County High where the academy was previously housed is empty at this time, board members said.
To contact writer Jeremy Timmerman, call 744-4331.