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Field trade between Gainesville, school board still in progress
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At Monday’s meeting of the Gainesville school board, members approved the purchase of three new school buses for a total of $291,840. Transportation Director Jerry Castleberry said he will retire one bus, and is considering retiring another. “So we are going to probably retire two buses instead of three,” he said. There are 55 buses in the Gainesville fleet. The school system is responsible for covering a little more than $60,000 of the total expense, which was included in the general fund budget. The majority is covered through the state’s “bonds for buses” program.

A land transfer between Gainesville City Schools and Gainesville Parks & Recreation isn’t final — yet.

“We’re transferring the middle school football field, the multipurpose field, with the Ivey-Watson baseball field,” Gainesville schools’ Director of Development Christine Brosky said. “So we’re just in the process of working through all of the documentation required to meet the intent of the switch. That’s where we’re at.”

The Gainesville High School baseball team plays home games at Ivey-Watson, on Lee Waldrip Drive off Dawsonville Highway.

The city has expressed interest in the multipurpose field across from the Frances Meadows Aquatic and Community Center.

“There were just so many things that had to be put in place in order to make a transfer of the land,” Brosky said. “It’s all the legal things that go with it, but nothing out of the ordinary.”

For example, part of Ivey-Watson is on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers leased property, Brosky said. The corps had to be notified of the land switch.

Also, the change would not impact how the middle school uses the multipurpose field.

“(They can still use it) until early evening, which they will,” Brosky said. “Then parks and recreation would use it later. We’ve worked out all the timing. And then at Ivey-Watson, the high school is the only user of that field.”

The current lease between the school board and city for property use is scheduled to end June 30. Brosky said she believes the property trade will occur before then.

“We’re making progress,” school board Chairwoman Maria Calkins said at the Monday meeting of the board.

“We’re just about finished,” Brosky said.

She said she did not have the property values immediately available, but the land sizes were comparable.

“It’s the position of the board that we make sure that it is done correctly,” she said.

“That all the intent of the law is met, and all of the documentation is accurate.

“I don’t want someone to ever take over this project or look at it and say something was missed,” Brosky added.