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School system closes on land
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The Newton County School Board has closed on a purchase of 80.97 acres of land that will be home of the school’s fifteenth elementary school.

The property is located at the northwest corner of Airport Road and Ga. Highway 142. Construction should get underway at the beginning of the year on the site which will first be home to an elementary school. The board intends for the property to also accommodate additionally facilities in the future such as a middle school and a stadium — though these are not immediate plans but they have been outlined in the Newton County School System’s building plan.

The property was purchased for $1,133,580, and according to Dr. Dennis Carpenter, the money used to purchase the property came from bonds sold in August of 2008.

"The purchase of the property at the northwest corner of the intersection of Airport Road and Ga. Highway 142 is aligned with the SPLOST III Referendum for Schools passed in our county back in September of 2007," said Carpenter. "The monies used to purchase this property came from the selling of bonds in August of 2008. These bonds are to be paid back with SPLOST III receipts which we will begin receiving in March of 2010.

"This purchase will allow us to move forward with those capital projects outlined in this referendum and in the district’s five year facilities plan. It is also important to note that, per state law, these dollars must be spent on specific capital projects and not daily operations," he said.

The school will have a similar design to recently opened elementary schools South Salem and Live Oak. According to Carpenter, the plan is to have the school open for students at the start of the 2011-2012 school year.

"We are very pleased with the site we have acquired," said Superintendent Dr. Steve Whatley.