Hall County school officials said Monday they understand the frustration when it comes to the appearance and safety of some of the district’s oldest school buildings.
Though several local buildings are 60 or 70 years old, finding funds for major repairs is a challenge, Superintendent Will Schofield said.
As education costs rise and funding is cut at the state and federal level, the stress on the district’s budget also has risen.
“Our wish list is about $60 million,” Schofield said, which includes repairs such as roofing and electrical work.
One antiquated building in the district is the East Hall High School field house, which parent Chuck Jarrard mentioned at the Hall County school board meeting Monday.
Jarrard told the board he has a son who plays football at East Hall, where he also played football 32 years ago.
He told the board he’s noticed problems such as black mold growing in the field house as well as a leaking roof.
“Not one person on the board would want their child to walk into that field house on a daily basis,” Jarrard said. “I don’t want my kids to either.”
He also pointed out a problem with sewage that backed up into the East Hall parking lot several weeks in a row.
Schofield said the district has fixed the sewage problem, which they discovered was related to roots growing in the system.
The roots were ground down Monday.
He also agreed with Jarrard that the field house is “deplorable.”
“It needs to be replaced,” he said. “At the same time, we need to balance that with the fact that we’ve cut staff and salaries.”
Schofield said the district can use certain funding, such as special local option sales tax, for school improvements, but the funding is restricted. The money could not be used for the field house project, which he estimates would cost about $300,000 to $500,000.
“Money must be used from the general fund,” he said.
Schofield said the district will look at ways to fund the project.
Jarrard said he believes the school board understands the need to fix the building, but that it will probably take some time.
“I just want to keep this at the forefront,” Jarrard said.
“Things that are important to us, we find a way to do it,” he told the school board.