BOE votes for new Booth Middle School building

After months of debate, the Board of Education has their plan in place for the future of J.C. Booth Middle School. At their Nov. 4 work session, the recommendation to build a new building, rather than renovate the current facility, was approved. 

The new school will be built to house 1,400 students on 37 acres recently purchased on Stagecoach Road in Peachtree City. The project comes at a total estimated cost of $46 million. 

“We’ve had a lot of conversations with the community, we’ve talked with each other a lot, we have looked at it from multiple different angles,” said Board Chair Scott Hollowell, acknowledging the lengthy process to narrow down to the final option. “I know, for my own vote, I’m looking at what is in the best interest longterm for the school district and what’s best for the students and the community.”

The vote passed 4-1, with Dr. Barry Marchman in opposition. 

He didn’t dive deep into the reasons he’s given multiple times, but once again voted against the new building.

“We’ve beat the dead horse pretty bad,” he said of the discussions. “As a fiduciary, I’m concerned about the cost, the traffic, the need for excess space, and the ill will we might cause.”

It likely isn’t the end of the fight over Booth’s future, as Peachtree City officials have expressed their opposition to the project. Back in September, the city delivered a letter to the BOE outlining their disagreements. 

“With very limited improvement options, this site will place an undue burden on the transportation network in the immediate vicinity. Based on our previous experience, traffic improvements can easily reach millions of dollars with limited impact on mobility within the corridor. No such funds are included in current or future Peachtree City budgets,” the letter read.

They also asked for a comprehensive traffic study to be completed before any development occurs in the area.