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Porter Hall to become Newton civic center
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The Newton County School Board (BOE) officially approved of an intergovernmental agreement with the Newton County Board of Commission (BOC) that will give the school system $5 million towards the renovation and expansion of the Porter Hall facility.

The millions of dollars in funds are coming from a 2005 special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST). Had the BOE not agreed to terms with the BOC then the school district would’ve forfeited the multi-million dollar donation.

Porter Hall will now be restored into a Newton County Civic Center. As part of the agreement, the county government will lease the facility from the school board for a 25-year term, which began on Sept. 1.

Since the county donated the initial $5 million for the renovations, it will only cost the BOC $25, or one dollar per year, to lease it from the school board, per the agreement.

The board approved of the agreement in 4-0-1 vote, with Eddie Johnson, district 2, abstaining.

With the renovation of Porter Hall moving forward, the BOE decided to use 1.91 million to demolish unused portions of the old Newton High School and install additional parking spaces and landscaping improvements. The money will come from Newton County School System (NCSS) SPaLOST funds and general funds.

This was also approved by the BOE 4-0-1, with Johnson abstaining.

The renovation project would probably start in December and be completed by June 2016. The demolition portion of the project would be completed in October 2016, and the new parking lot would be finished in January 2017.