Tommy Daniel, Peach County schools superintendent, said population growth and old facilities form the core of the tax proposal.Daniel
said Peach County
is experiencing growth in its northeast corner, with many subdivisions already gaining approval from the planning and zoning office.
"We're looking at 1,500 potential home sites," Daniel
said.Construction has already begun on some homes, he
said, while other lots are being prepared for residential builders.
The county, he
said, is benefiting from growth of the work force in south Bibb and Houston counties.
"The way we're positioned, with south Bibb and Houston counties, we can get a good number of overflow housing for people working there," he
thinks the population growth isn't just immediate, but that it will be sustaining.
"This won't be the end of our need to expand our facilities," he
is going to continue to face growth for some time."
As far as county schools that have been around for some time, it's time for them to go, Daniel
A facilities study on the two schools indicated it was more feasible to build new ones rather than renovate, Daniel
said.Peach County High School
is slated for renovations and improvements, he
"There's still a great deal of value in that building," he
said."But like an aging house, it needs a little pick-up."
Also on tap for the high school is an item that officials have wanted for a long time - tennis courts.
"We've had tennis courts on our agenda for a good while," Daniel
The courts will be used by the high school tennis teams, and the school will be able to teach tennis as a physical education class.
The second elementary school on the proposal will be built in the eastern part of Peach County at a site yet to be determined, he
"We're looking to draw students from eastern Peach County," he
said."We want the school to be situated where it can best serve the community."Daniel
has heard little to no opposition against Peach County's SPLOST proposal.
said "the majority of our citizens" understand that a sales tax is the equitable way to generate money for planned projects."What we do today is going to impact students in Peach County for many years to come," he said.
COSTS TO RISE
Other items in the Peach County SPLOST include big-ticket purchases such as buses and technology improvements, Daniel
The school system currently has about 50 buses, he
said, and can fund three new buses every two years.That won't be enough, he
"We need to fund three to four buses per year," he
In the early days of the Georgia lottery, Peach and other school systems in the state were able to use lottery funds to finance some technology purchases, but the money's not there any longer, he
Technology improvements include replacing hardware and upgrading networks, and instructional needs such as new laboratories, he
"We'll use the SPLOST for capital purchases instead of drawing from the general fund in the budget," he
said."But we are prioritizing the SPLOST funds for new construction."
Time is a critical factor, too, Daniel
"Construction costs are going up all the time, and inflation is a factor," he
said."The longer we wait to build, the more it's going to cost us."
A more recent factor is the weather, in the form of fallout from Hurricane Katrina, he
said.Construction materials will be in high demand because of the cost of rebuilding and repairing the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast area, he
said, and that will push up the cost of materials for the proposed new schools.