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Hall school board offers update on renovations, learning commons

The Hall County Board of Education on Monday discussed progress on the renovations to area schools.

The board approved purchases going toward Phase II of learning commons renovations, which is set to be completed this summer prior to preplanning, with Phase III set for summer 2022 and Phase IV in summer 2024. 

The renovations aim to modernize and expand current media centers, with Phase II consisting of six schools: Chestatee High School, East Hall Middle School, Lula Elementary School, Martin Elementary School, Mt. Vernon Exploratory School and Sugar Hill Elementary School.

Each learning commons includes a dedicated makers space for students to create. The spaces have different functionality depending on the school, with uses like storytime and independent reading areas, video and podcast production space and collaboration areas. 

Depending on the school, other renovations to learning commons include a combination of hard and soft seating, more windows, additional doors and glass walls where the media specialist can see what’s happening from anywhere in the room.

Of the six schools, Lula Elementary was said to be the most difficult to renovate because of the presence of lots of columns in the media center. 

Additionally, Chestatee High School’s renovations were supposed to be completed last summer but were delayed until this year.

Work on middle school gyms continued over winter break at five middle schools. Changes include working heat in the gyms and the upgraded lighting of four of the five gyms. Installation of LED light fixtures should occur toward the end of this month.

At the next meeting, the board will vote on funding for the design of two lanes around Wauka Mountain Multiple Intelligences Academy — a left-hand turn lane and right deceleration lane — to reduce car rider traffic along Highway 52. They will also hear about suggested fees and architects for Phase III of the learning commons renovations.

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