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July 12, 2014 10:58:23 PM
Lowndes County voters who reside outside the Columbus city limits will go to the polls next month to vote on a $47 million bond issue, which will fund a variety of construction projects and technology initiatives throughout the Lowndes County School District.
During Friday's school board meeting, board members voted to take the bond issue to the polls on August 26. The referendum must be approved by 60 percent of voters to pass.
The bond will fund a new New Hope High School, a career technical center and various smaller projects throughout the district.
Additionally, the funds will be used to implement the 1:1 Digital Learning Initiative, which will place a computer laptop or tablet device in the hands of every student in the district.
"From upgrading our facilities to new school buildings, remodeling other buildings and some much-needed field houses at New Hope and Caledonia, I think this is a great opportunity for the district," said Lowndes County School District Superintendent Lynn Wright.
Of the career technical center, Wright added, "It's critical for the future of our students in Lowndes County to learn skills that will help prepare them for future employment or further training at EMCC, MSU, MUW or other four-year universities."
Some projects already started
The projects to be addressed by the bond are part of a larger master plan of construction projects throughout the district. Phase one of that plan, which includes projects deemed as "emergency matters," has already begun.
During Friday's meeting, JBHM architect Joey Henderson gave the board an update on those projects already started.
According to Henderson, each project is right on schedule.
At West Lowndes, the maintenance facility is near competition and power should be hooked up to the building next week, Henderson said. The power is connected at the remodeled elementary school and a complete inspection is expected to be conducted next week. Construction at West Lowndes High School had some unforeseen setbacks but Henderson said the project should be completed by Aug. 4.
A sewer project at New Hope is under review and is expected to begin by the end of July. Henderson said JBHM would like to put out an announcement for bids on the new field house at New Hope by the end of July. The board voted to approve applications for bids.
Construction on the new Caledonia campus is expected to begin in late September or early October.
Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.
1. Coach Marsh will be remembered COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY