BOE narrows Peach County High School architect choices

FORT VALLEY -- The Peach County school board narrowed its searches to two architect firms to design the new Peach County High School.

Perkins+Will of Atlanta and James W. Buckley & Associates Inc. of Savannah stood out from a group of six candidates that met with board members earlier this month.

“The interviews were impressive,” said board member Ben Hoots at Tuesday’s study session. “Perkins+Will were extremely prepared.”

Representatives from the Atlanta firm came down to view the site for the school, located on Ga. 49 near Moseley Road. They also came to the interview armed with a 3-D rendering of a potential design for the school that met the board’s initial preferences for the facility.

Even though the firm presented toward the end of the two-day process, board Vice Chairwoman Virginia Dixon said she didn’t lose focus.

“It was just too interesting, all of the possibilities,” she said.

Buckley & Associates brought experience to the table, board members said. The firm has designed about 220 schools across the state, according to its website.

“He’s got a body of work that he’s done that’s hard to argue with,” Hoots said.

The board will next review the results of interviews done with the two firms’ references before making a final decision.

The funding process for the school hit a hitch in recent weeks, but officials are hopeful it won’t affect the final timeline. The original plan was to receive the district’s entitlement money for the project early, but that won’t be possible because of the effect phasing out the current high school had on the formula for the funding.

The actual construction of the school is still a few years away regardless, but board Chairman Ben McDaniel was still frustrated that state officials had not informed him or Superintendent Daryl Fineran that they might lose the chance for early funding.

“I would like somebody who’s going to tell us the story’s not going to change again,” he said.

Funds from 1-cent sales tax revenue will still be collected on schedule and would have been used to pay for the early phases of the project under any circumstances.

The board also voted Tuesday to approve the sale of the old Hunt Primary School facility to Bradbury Logistics and Services. The classroom buildings sold for $50,700.

To contact writer Jeremy Timmerman, call 744-4331 or find him on Twitter@MTJTimm.