A one-cent tax on consumer goods goes to fund capital projects for Catoosa County schools. Board of Education members looked at the current stage of several projects being funded by the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST) at the regular meeting Oct. 1.
Schools director of operations Doug Suits reviewed three projects in different stages of completion. The first project discussed was Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School.
"This is just a beautiful building," Suits said of the nearly completed renovations.
New bleachers and walking track adorn the newly completed basketball court at LFO. A new lobby featuring large trophy cases is almost completed. A new cafeteria is almost completed. An outside seating area connected to the cafeteria is being started as block is being laid. Large doors allow students to move through the outside area to the cafeteria.
The media center is completed, and students are already using the center for computer use, studying and breaks. A connected area to the media room features large windows and will soon be furnished with seating and bookshelves for students use.
"It's really brought a lot of light into our media center and brightened it up from the inside," Suits said.
The next project discussed was Ringgold High School renovations. Based on the last report, the band room is being constructed with massive block walls. The art rooms will be toward the front of the new structure and a large auditorium with massive stage is all starting to take shape, Suits said.
The last project covered by Suits was the renovations made to Boynton Elementary’s front counter. The counter space was remodeled and refreshed with a new logo and counter space.
"That was a very old front counter that had deteriorated with age," said schools superintendent Denia Reese.
ESPLOST was established by the Georgia legislature in 1996. Every five years voters in a school district are asked to approve the one-cent tax. Projects currently underway for the ESPLOST IV are LFO High School and the RHS auditorium, including art classrooms that were destroyed in the 2011 tornado. Projects already completed using the tax money are 21st century technology in all classrooms, updated technology in all schools, West Side Elementary media center and security cameras, Lakeview Middle School exterior revitalization and maintenance, new bleachers and fencing and sewer projects at Tiger Creek and West Side Elementary. Upcoming projects are cafeteria updates, new roofs, buses, maintenance and additional security cameras.
Catoosa County has 17 schools and seven of those are at least 50 years old. The last vote for ESPLOST was in 2011.