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Johnson head leaving to direct SPLOST work
$3.5 million in repairs scheduled
0320SPLOSTdamon gibbs
Damon Gibbs

Johnson High School principal Damon Gibbs will leave his post to work full-time on directing projects being funded by the 1-cent special purpose local option sales tax.

The Hall County Board of Education voted Monday night on the move, which takes effect June 1 and also involves school maintenance oversight.

"This is something that Dr. Gibbs is interested in and would like to do," said Richard Hill, associate superintendent for human resources.

He said the system would advertise the Johnson High vacancy beginning today.

"I am really excited about the opportunity to positively impact the 26,000 students in Hall County," said Gibbs, reached later in the evening. "We are carefully evaluating our facilities so that SPLOST dollars can be allocated effectively."

He added that Johnson High, which is at 3305 Poplar Springs Road in South Hall, "has been home for the past four years and making the decision to leave has been very difficult. It is a great school and community."

Before the Johnson job, Gibbs served as principal at Spout Springs Elementary School and as an assistant principal at Flowery Branch High School.

As the system's construction manager, he already has been busy gearing up for SPLOST maintenance projects, with voters approving the renewal of the tax on March 15.

"We're looking at the age of our buildings and what the critical needs are," Gibbs said in an earlier interview. "Maintenance crews have evaluated the situation for some time."

In Hall County, about $3.5 million in repairs are scheduled to start this summer.

A new roof and heating and air conditioning system will be installed at West Hall High School for a projected $2.2 million. And heating and air conditioning systems also will be replaced at North Hall and East Hall middle schools.

The Hall school board also voted to proceed with getting bond funding for new SPLOST projects in anticipation of later paying it off with sales tax proceeds.

"This will allow us to continue to move forward with our heating and air conditioning renovations that we need to get done," Superintendent Will Schofield said.

Also, "we've said from the beginning that we have major renovation work we'd like to do at the former Jones Elementary School and former South Hall Middle School," he said.