State Funds Requested to Help Pay for Oconee County High Renovations

Oconee County Schools could receive around $900,000 in state funding to go toward the estimated $8 million project, which is scheduled to begin in 2014.

Renovations to Oconee County High School may be partially funded by the state. At a meeting Monday, the Oconee County Board of Education agreed to submit a fiscal year capital outlay application to potentially receive $918,778 toward the project.

In order to qualify for the funding, the school system must contribute at least $220,000 and can't begin construction until 2014.  Since the project is estimated to cost $8 million, Assistant Superintendent for Operations and Student Services Mark Channell said meeting that benchmark wouldn't be a problem.  The bulk of the project will be funded through the education local-option sales tax (E-LOST).

Though the bidding process could begin in 2013, state funds, if approved by the Georgia Geneneral Assembly, won't be made available until after the construction is under way in 2014, according to Channell. There are checkpoints throughout the project, he explained, and the state will reimburse the school system in increments. The state holds 10 percent of retainage until the project is complete, added Randy Morrison, assistant superintendent of financial operations.

The school, which opened in 1992, is scheduled to get a complete overhaul.

"It includes replacing all HVAC throughout the building, adding HVAC, doing all new lighting, wiring, new ceilings and floors, new paint, new windows...the list goes on and on," Channell said.  "When they finish it, it will be a thing of beauty."

Officials are still discussing the time line for the project, which, like the Colham Ferry Elementary renovations, could be divided into phases. Channell said the goal is to "start the planning process full speed ahead by next fall."

The field house, which will include concession stands and restrooms, does not qualify for any state funding, Channell noted, and therefore work could begin on it as early as this summer. 

Board members in an executive session were to view a first draft of the field house put together by school administrators, staff and architects. Channell said he hopes to present a more complete plan to the Board in January or February 2013 for approval.

Correction: According to the OCHS Alumni Association, the current OCHS facility opened to students in 1992.

See also:

Letter to the Editor: Why Does School Board Favor One High School Over the Other?

Video: Tour the New NOHS Field House

E-SPLOST Referendum Passes in Oconee County

General Contractor Selected for North Oconee High Project

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