GCPS: Schools will be ready

SUWANEE -- Eight new school buildings will be ready for teaching and learning to take place when the new year begins, a Gwinnett County Public Schools area superintendent told the school board Thursday evening.

The school system has a history of finishing the construction of schools on time and under budget, and this year is no exception, Area Superintendent John Green said.

Members of the Gwinnett County Board of Education lauded the system's construction and facilities management team.

"You are a point of pride to this board," Vice Chairman Robert McClure told the district's chief operations officer, Jim Steele. "It's a point of pride how well (you) spend the taxpayers' money."

During the board's monthly work session, Steele gave a presentation that showed the amount Gwinnett County Public Schools spends per square foot in construction is 30 percent below the metro Atlanta average. He noted that the Atlanta average is the lowest in the Southeast -- and in the nation.

Between 1999 and 2009, the school system would have spent an additional $45 million if its construction costs matched the metro area's average, Steele said.

The school system is opening a high school, a middle school and five elementary schools this year. In addition, a permanent facility for the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology is opening.

School begins Aug. 9.