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Hall County Board of Education discusses East Hall High improvements
Performing arts center, bus driveway could be added
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East Hall High School could have a few campus updates in the next several years.

Hall County Schools recently chose to delay construction of the school’s new performing arts center, but the district Board of Education discussed details of the project and a few more updates to the campus Monday at its regular work session.

Superintendent Will Schofield said no date has been set for the start of construction on the performing arts center, but the earliest would be the day after school ends in 2016.

“If you recall, we bought that property adjacent to the gymnasium and parking lot several years ago, which gave us some additional acreage to the East Hall High School property as well as the five or six acres down there for additional expansion,” Schofield said. “Now is the time that that’s really going to look like a good purchase that we made years ago.”

Facilities director Matt Cox presented the board with a rendering of the performing arts center. The idea for the center was approved by the board last year, but plans were postponed while the district prepared to build a similar facility at North Hall High School.

“It’s a little bit different from North Hall in that this is a freestanding building,” Cox said. “... But the similarities are we’ll have the front lobby, restrooms on both sides, a control room, seating, the stage and then basically the drama department with classrooms, the drama construction lab and more.”

The theater will sit directly on top of the campus’ current parking lot, so additional parking will have to be constructed, Cox said, which will require a good bit of grading.

Along with the performing arts center and parking lot, Cox and Schofield presented the board with the idea of building East Hall a new bus driveway, which would curve along the back of the school.

“There are some issues that we’ve noticed at East Hall with just getting buses in and out,” Cox said. “There’s absolutely nowhere for them to park so they are absolutely everywhere. If you’ve ever been there, you know that once they line them up, you’re stuck there for 30-45 minutes until they get out.”

Schofield said the current issue is buses have no room to turn around and are forced to commingle with cars in carpool lines. The new bus driveway would accommodate the 33 buses that go to East Hall, with three lanes for 11 buses each.

It would also include a large turnaround for buses to easily come back out.

“It’s a good plan,” Cox said. “There’s a lot of grading that goes with that too. ... But this is just an idea that I had the engineers explore to see what the possibilities were and I think they came up with a good solution for that.”

The school board voted to give Cox permission to continue working with engineers and architects on both projects and to report back with an update.

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