After several setbacks in the selection of a site for a new Pepperell Middle School, Floyd County Schools is now considering using the current site for construction.
The current school would be demolished and a new school would be built in its place — one wing of the school and the gym would be renovated — under a plan school system officials are now favoring, said Superintendent Jeff Wilson during a community meeting at Pepperell High School on Thursday evening.
The meeting brought together members of the Local School Governance Teams from each school in the Pepperell district along with Lindale residents. Wilson took the group through the selection process up to the latest position, which “we keep coming back to,” he said.
The school system is now asking for community feedback on the proposed plan for the project, to be funded by an extension of the 1-cent education local option sales tax, before moving forward, Wilson said.
The option of building a 104,000-square-foot school on the current site has come to the forefront after two other sites each came with more than $4 million more in construction costs.
To build on property south of the high school on Landers Drive, an additional $7.9 million would have to be spent on foundation work.
The other site, which board members had decided as their top choice prior to submitting a site approval plan to the state Department of Education, would require more than $4 million in additional costs for foundation work and moving the baseball and practice football fields. Also, this site was not approved by the DOE.
If the community comes out in favor of building on the current site, Wilson said the best case scenario to get the construction process rolling would be to have the board approve the site at its October meeting, Wilson said.
This would kick off the process of getting site approval from the DOE — it is believed it would be approved since it is the current site of a school — and finding subcontractors for the work, Wilson said. Then by June 1, the demolition process could get underway, he continued.
Ultimately, the goal would be to have the school ready for kids to move in by the midpoint of next school year, Wilson said. Also, with the closing of McHenry Primary at the end of this school year, it could be used as a temporary school for middle schoolers, he continued.