Gainesville City Schools hope to build more classrooms for students over the next five years.
City school leaders discussed a list of projects that could be funded by a sales tax up for a vote in November at the school board’s regular work session Monday.
Currently, the special purpose local option sales tax for education puts a penny of every dollar spent in Gainesville toward local school systems’ capital projects, including new buildings, renovations, equipment and land.
The E-SPLOST referendum on the ballot Nov. 3 involves Gainesville City Schools, Buford City Schools and the Hall County School District, and all three are required to make a list of their priority capital projects.
Gainesville plans to open an elementary school in the Mundy Mill area in 2017, and “new construction” tops the capital projects list with an estimated $16.5 million cost.
The priority list is based on the system’s five-year facilities plan. Gainesville projects need
$6.8 million for additional permanent classrooms at existing schools. Superintendent Wanda Creel said classrooms make up one of the system’s biggest needs, between the need for a new elementary school and additional instructional space at other schools, including Centennial Arts Academy and Enota Elementary School.
Portions of the list are unspecific, including “renovations of existing building,” for $1 million and “new floor for existing building” for $216,000.
Creel said these renovations include a new cafeteria at Centennial and the new flooring would be for the alumni gymnasium.
In total, the district’s estimated costs for capital projects that could be funded by E-SPLOST V are $30.4 million.
Chief Financial Officer Chris Griner said the system has several additional steps in preparation for the referendum. this includes “creating an awareness of the Five Year Facility Plan,” meeting with all schools for input into the list of projects, reviewing all properties and putting the list into three tiers, based on their priority.
“These are some additional homework steps we’ve identified that we need to do moving forward,” Griner said.
The board also discussed the need for a list of the projects completed by SPLOST IV funds, which would be an example to the community and to voters of what can be accomplished through the tax. District officials agreed to put a list together.
“That’s the baseline for voters,” said board member Sammy Smith. “What did you do with the last one?”