Facilities Director Mike Satterfield updated the Fayette County Board of Education Monday on several proposed facilities projects within the county.
Among the topics most discussed was potential development and residential growth on the horizon, particularly in Peachtree City where major developments are proposed in the “West Village” area near MacDuff Parkway. Additional residential development was also recently proposed as part of an annexation request to the city which will be discussed at Thursday’s city council meeting.
Satterfield noted he had met with planners from the county and local municipalities in recent weeks to get a feel for where they expected potential development to come in the future.
Satterfield discussed replacements for the gym facilities at North Fayette and Peachtree City Elementaries, each expected to cost around $1.1 million. Satterfield suggested the board also consider a $1.5 million addition to add eight classrooms at Peachtree City Elementary in order to accommodate potential growth.
Satterfield noted the school already has four “portable classrooms” which could be replaced with four permanent classrooms, leaving an additional four for further growth. He said the expansion would “buy us a few years” and could accommodate an increase of around 150 to 175 students with the added class space plus some capacity availability at Kedron Elementary.
He said the construction, if approved by the board, would be done in a phased approach in which a replacement gym would be built at Peachtree Elementary, the current gym torn down, then the classroom addition built in its place. He said construction of that addition would be completed by Fall of 2016 in a best case scenario and could take as much as a year longer.
Deputy Superintendent Sam Sweat noted Peachtree City currently has 530 students, though it is one of the smaller elementary schools based on class size. He said Kedron Elementary currently has 587, Crabapple Lane 638, and Huddleston Elementary also at 638.
Board member Barry Marchman said he would like to see a cost analysis done as to whether it would be more effective to consider re-opening Tyrone Elementary rather than do an expansion to an existing facility.
Superintendent Jody Barrow said the staff would keep options open, but was trying to be “proactive” in planning for potential enrollment growth.
“We’re trying to read the tea leaves just like everyone else is. We’re excited about growth in student enrollment. We would want to see real good, steady growth,” Barrow said. “My concern is if this thing goes faster than we anticipate then we’re talking about a lot of portables in different places. I’d rather plan and be proactive rather than reactive and have lots of portables in the district.”
Satterfield noted that a primary reason for closing Tyrone and Brooks Elementary was that the district “loses money when operating [a building] at below 450 students. That was the case at both of those facilities.”
The board seemed to agree with Satterfield’s suggestion that a bid be put out for the gym construction with the classroom addition included as an alternate.
Satterfield also reported bid returns on the replacement of the Whitewater Middle School roof and HVAC systems, which came in just under $3 million despite a budget of around $5 million. Satterfield said he was very pleased with how competitive the bids had been on the project.
For the Braelinn Elementary roof and HVAC, the low bid came in at $2.34 million, which Satterfield said was around $175,000 over budget.
In addition to those projects, Satterfield recommended the board award a contract to Sport Court to replace gym flooring at ten elementary schools.
Satterfield noted that Sport Court originally installed the existing floors in the mid 1990’s using a “snap together” flooring with a “waffle design” which has holes in it. He said that flooring was considered practical at the time because the district had just dealt with flooding in 1994 in four facilities. He said the Sport Court product could easily be removed in the event of a flood, cleaned, and replaced.
Satterfield said the flooring was durable and effective, but principals complained about the waffle pattern and a lack of padding underneath the flooring, both of which contributed to injuries for kids that fell or slid along the floor.
Sweat noted the cushioning is very important for preventing injuries.
“This is a big deal in my opinion,” Sweat said.
The new materials are also made by Sport Court and also snap together, but are solid tiles with no holes, Satterfield said. He said they’ve been used in many Cobb County and Gwinnett County schools and also for sports like volleyball at small and mid-sized colleges.
He said more elementary school principals would have an opportunity to see the product for themselves in the coming weeks.
The cost for the ten schools would be around $267,000, which Satterfield said was a good price. He said each facility is around 5,000 to 6,000 square feet, and that Sport Court had estimated they could complete all ten floor replacements this summer if given the go ahead by the board.
Satterfield also noted the flooring comes in enough color varieties that each school could likely use its own school colors.