The Dawson County School Board is looking to purchase two buildings in downtown Dawsonville.
The Board recently approved offering $1.3 million for the old Community and Southern Bank building and a smaller adjacent building, totaling 13,700 square feet.
“We feel confident our offer will be accepted,” said Superintendent Keith Porter. “We’ve been having discussions about those buildings for some time.”
The buildings were once listed at more than $3.1 million.
Funds for the building are part of E-LOST (Education Local Option Sales Tax) revenue, which was approved by 77 percent of Dawson County taxpayers in 2009. The funds cannot be used for any purpose except, “acquisition, construction and equipment” for the school systems.
To date, E-LOST revenues have been used for renovating Robinson Elementary School, building Hightower Academy, improving technology in all classrooms, and updating the athletic facilities at DCMS and DCHS. Additionally, three safety vestibules were built at Blacks Mill Elementary, Kilough Elementary and DCHS to push visitor traffic into the main office rather than walk the hallways. The board also paid off a 15-year lease and has purchased new buses.
“If we had the opportunity, we would have used the money for salaries, to purchase instructional materials, or to put back calendar days for teachers, but we don’t have the option of using E-LOST dollars that way.”
If the deal is approved, the entire administrative facilities, currently located at 517 Allen St. downtown, will move.
“It will more than double the space we have right now,” said Porter.
Additionally, parking spaces at the current facility are limited to 25. The new facility has 100.
“I think it will be beneficial to the city that those buildings are no longer be vacant.”
Mayor James Grogan agrees.
“I’m very excited about it,” he said. “In the city, we already have Dawson County High School and middle school, Robinson Elementary and Hightower Academy. It makes good sense for the school’s administrative offices to be here too. And, they’ve always been good neighbors.”
A $5 million campus of Lanier Technical College opened in 2012 adding to city’s educational resources.
“This is great because it may cause others to look at the different buildings we’ve got open,” he added. “There’s retail space available around the Food Lion and now the school board’s older building will be available.”
Next, the $1.3 million contract must receive final approval from the school board. The meeting is scheduled for April 8, 6:30 p.m. at 517Allen St., Dawsonville.