With two elementary schools near capacity, Gainesville City Schools is going forward with plans to build a new elementary school in the Mundy Mill neighborhood.
The district has already secured property for the school and is in the process of submitting an application to the state Department of Education.
Gainesville Exploration Academy and Centennial Arts Academy are both “filling up fast,” with about 1,000 students each, Superintendent Wanda Creel said.
Plans for a school in the Mundy Mill area in the growing southern portion of Hall County, have been underway for years, according to Christine Brosky, the district’s chief operations officer.
The 17-acre site, at Millside Parkway, was donated to the school district by Dallas, Texas-based residential and commercial developer Butler Property in March 2011 as part of a development deal. The land was originally donated by Lanier Land Co., but was later acquired by Butler Property and donated again to the school district.
Brosky said it’s common for development agreements to stipulate developers provide land for schools.
“It behooves (the developers) because it’s a draw to sell homes, and it behooves us because it’s land that we’re not paying for to build a school,” she said.
She said the district looked at several properties that were offered, and found the one on Millside Parkway met Department of Education guidelines.
Adrian Niles, maintenance and operations director for the school district, said the current plan is to build a kindergarten-through-fifth-grade school similar in size and scope to Fair Street International Baccalaureate World School, which opened in 2013.
“We’re looking forward to just as sharp a building as the Fair Street building,” Niles said.
He also said the new school is slated to have a playground and will possibly have recreational fields, and that plans have not yet been made for classrooms and other
“We’re in the process of making application to the state,” he said. “We’ll go to design with an architect after the application is approved.”
He said the Department of Education accepts applications based on a needs assessment, and added the district’s current facilities are in good shape, but a new school is needed due to growth in enrollment.
“As a school district, our system is solid,” he said. “Our buildings are maintained very well and up-to-date.”
Plans are to use special purpose local option sales tax funds for the project.
“It will be on our next SPLOST,” Niles said.
Creel said the the type of curriculum to be offered at the school will be determined later by a school governance committee.