FORT VALLEY -- The new Peach County High School is one step closer to having a firm location.
The school board voted Tuesday to approve a closing date on the 170-acre property at Ga. 49 and Moseley Road, the same property that has been targeted since before the county's voters approved the penny-on-the-dollar sales tax to pay for the project about a year ago.
"We should have this part behind us, and we'll be ready to move on with the planning and designing," board Chairman Ben McDaniel said.
No other property had been discussed publicly, but stakeholders expressed concerns last month that the deal would not get done and that the board would change locations.
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"It's great, to put all those questions behind us," McDaniel said.
The property, currently owned by Michael Jaros and Bucky Greene, will be sold for $4,700 per acre, which comes out to about $800,000 in all. McDaniel and Superintendent Daryl Fineran said they are "comfortable" with the price, especially considering the property was the board's first choice.
Located about 3 miles outside Fort Valley, the new school site will be closer to Byron residents while still maintaining a Fort Valley address and remaining accessible to students there, school officials have said in the past.
"This is the site we thought was the best in terms of location," Fineran said.
In a 4-0 vote, the board gave the go-ahead to close on the property, which will take place next week. Board member Ben Hoots abstained because of a potential conflict of interest with another location that was discussed during the process.
"My family owns a piece of property that was considered for purchase," Hoots said.
The closing date is in line with earlier projections, which means the new building that will replace the current Peach County High School should be completed by 2020.
The board also approved the means by which the governing boards at each school will be selected when the district switches to a charter system for the 2016-17 school year. At each school, three parents and one other community representative or business leader will be elected by parents, with one certified faculty member and one classified staff member of the school elected by that person's peers. The board will be rounded out by each school's principal.
"We studied how a lot of different systems have gone before us," Fineran said.
The board will next meet for its monthly study session at 6 p.m. on March 22.
To contact writer Jeremy Timmerman, call 744-4331 or find him on Twitter@MTJTimm.