New Field House Back on Track After Initial Setback

Panther's Corner, Union County High School
field house

Blairsville, Ga – Administration’s hiring a new architect to design the new field house after initial plans came in exponentially over the initial budget.

New field house project once again moving forward after the original architect provided a $2M site plan.

The board advised the project returned to square one and find out where expenses could be cut to better serve the school as a whole.

“We are in the process of hiring an architect,” stated Assistant Superintendent David Murphy, “We think that we can save more money and have a better product by doing a design-build. This is where the architect designs it. We went with the number two finalist in our prior commitment. We were very impressed with their presentation.”

The contract’s currently with the school system’s attorneys for review and to guarantee that they can back out if the architect is negligent in any way.

“How is that any different from the first time? Didn’t we use an architect company for the plan, and then bid out based on that? It sounds like the same thing?” questioned board member Janna Akins.

“This one’s going to have a lot tighter specifications,” stated Murphy, “They’re going in with a cap – that allows us to see the product being built more inclusively.”

Once the hiring is finalized, the board and administration will set specifications and budget cap.

“The architect plans we paid for the first time are they going to be used at all the second time?” asked Akins.

“No, ma’am,” responded Murphy, “That is a very expensive building.”

Expenses spent on the field house original plan also won’t be recouped by the school system due to terms of the previous contract.

The board rejected the flooring bid presented in July meeting after an initial review from a flooring engineer, and new bids expected in September.

State of Schools Reports

With school back in session, four of the five principals delivered their quarterly reports. Woody Gap Principal Carol Knight was absent due to family obligations.

UCPS Principal Millie Owenby stated that the new car rider and pick-up lines were running pretty smoothly with the school currently five minutes off their intended 2:40 p.m. pick-up time. UCPS total enrollment is 700 students.  They are no longer doubling up pick-up lines due to the potential danger of children running between cars to reach their parents. MAP testing has started for the school and will continue for the next two weeks. Owenby plans on hosted a school-wide fundraiser for playground equipment and ESPLOST currently has $65,000 allocated to the primary school for new equipment.

UCES Principal Jerry Bavero reported that the elementary currently has 600 students, which is 30 more than expected, but teachers and administration are adapting. One teacher came forward to host a New Kids on the Block program to partner new students with older and established ones to help them feel at home. The morning pep-rallies continue to be a big hit with students.

UCMS Principal Gwen Stafford said the middle school is at 686 students for the start of the year. Clubs will begin on Friday, August 23. The school is also in the middle of MAP testing to gather information on students’ strengths and weaknesses. Fall sports are up and running – football, cross country, and softball. Traffic also continues to run smoothly.

UCHS Principal C.T. Hussion has 835 students with 62 new teenagers, who need to learn the culture. Overall, the high school’s had a smooth start. The chorus sang the national anthem at a Gwinnett Stingers game. The drama departments conducting an 80s show. Hussion wants to improve homeroom and soft skills using Georgia Best. Student fees program continues to be an asset for the school making $20,000 thus far with $4,000 carrying over from last year. Another $2,000 expected to come in after homecoming and everything left over goes to student council to improve the school how they see fit.

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