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District spends $63.5 million on new high school

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan The land on Riverside Parkway owned by Gwinnett County Public Schools is expected to be the site of the Berkmar/Central Cluster High School.

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan The land on Riverside Parkway owned by Gwinnett County Public Schools is expected to be the site of the Berkmar/Central Cluster High School.

SUWANEE -- In a unanimous vote at Thursday's Gwinnett County Board of Education meeting, officials approved construction of a high school that will relieve Berkmar and Central Gwinnett.

In the 5-0 vote, board members awarded a $63.5 million contract to a Gainesville construction company to complete construction of what is currently known as the Berkmar/Central Cluster High School, 2136 Old Norcross Road, Lawrenceville.

According to staff with Gwinnett County Public Schools, the construction company has successfully completed projects in the past for the district. In addition, their bid was about $602,000 lower than the next lowest bidder.

Scheduled to open in fall of 2015, the high school is one of several slated to open around the same time: all of which are funded by the voter-approved education special purpose local option sales tax.

Other new school facilities tentatively slated to open soon include Peachtree Ridge Cluster Middle School at 1221 Northbrook Parkway, Suwanee (August 2014); Meadowcreek Cluster Elementary School, property not yet purchased (August 2015); Berkmar/Central Relief Cluster Elementary School (August 2015); and Central Gwinnett Cluster Middle School, 355 E. Crogan St., Lawrenceville (August 2015).

Jorge Quintana, spokesman for GCPS, said construction of the facilities is part of phase III of the district's long-range building program "to address classroom needs. As we saw last fall, our student enrollment continues to grow."

In September 2012, the district's final official enrollment count of the 2012-13 year -- a total of 164,694 -- showed more than 2,000 students attending GCPS than what was initially projected by central office staff.

Comments

kevin 1 year, 1 month ago

No mention of SPLOST funds paying for this splurge by the BOC. I guess our tax increase has put Gwinnett in a spending mode and this will be an annual expense, not a one time expense.

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Why_not 1 year, 1 month ago

The BOC has nothing to do with school expansions.

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cwkimbro 1 year ago

Gwinnett County's budget has been tighter. The only small property tax increase was merely an effort to fill the gap caused by taxes decreasing due to lower property values (caused by the recession). Overall tax proceeds decreased post-2007.

This is funded by the SPLOST tax as most schools have been in the last couple of decades.

This 'splurge' isn't new and has been planned for a long time. We were building new schools 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 15 years ago, and 20 years ago. Why? because we are growing. It is that simple. Not to mention despite all the building, our school system still depended on trailers most the time to handle all the students.

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John5214 1 year, 1 month ago

Yes, it is our property taxes going up and up so we can pay for the education of all the illegals who don't pay property taxes. Welcome to America. Oh by the way, have some health insurance on me, also.

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Why_not 1 year, 1 month ago

Do you want some cheese with that whine also?

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John5214 1 year, 1 month ago

Do you like paying more in taxes than you should? Also genius, even your car insurance is higher because of the illegal issue. Get off your PC butt and let's tell the truth about these real American issues.

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gwinnettresident1 1 year, 1 month ago

Face the facts...its not whine..just the facts..We furnish everything for the illegals..plus when they are caught we pay to send them home...so they can just come back the next day..Got to love title one schools...parents show no income but drive lexus, caddys, land rovers and so on and so on..if they have no money how do they get them..i have money but cant afford them.

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cwkimbro 1 year ago

Face the real facts.... The sheer overwhelming majority of students in GCPS system aren't even Hispanic, much less the ones that are here illegally. It is our good school system that makes people want to locate here and most of our property values so high and so many people choose to leave here. Yet you are only concerned with the tiniest fraction of the student population.

I'm proud of the success of the GCPS system. You can whine and scapegoat others for other almost entirely unrelated problems all you want, but it doesn't make them true.

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news2me 1 year ago

This discussion is about the new HS that helps to relieve the strain on Berkmar & Central. 2010-2011 accountability reports for Berkmar HS show the following student data:

  • Populations of 46% Hispanic, 34% Black, 10% Asian / 80% Free - Reduced Lunch

Real facts require hard data that apparently only you have.
Please provide a more microscopic look at:

  • data on Illegal Aliens / students in GCPS (preferably Berkmar & Central)
  • statistics on Gwinnett residents vs (non taxpaying) out of county residents with children in GCPS down to cluster level
  • numbers that prove high property values in Gwinnett down to cluster level

Thank you in advance for your real facts / true data that supports your claims.

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cwkimbro 1 year ago

We are making new schools everywhere and have been for years. It is done based on demand, so the fact it just happens to relieving one of the only 2 or 3 schools with a sizable hispanic population is small to the bigger picture of the whole county.

It is also wrong to assume most hispanic people are illegal.

I will gladly wait for real hard data to the opposite.

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news2me 1 year ago

Yet again, you offerer personal assumptions on why GCPS is building schools with absolutely no information to back it up. This is not just about Hispanics or Illegals, it is any student that doesn't belong in GCPS. I tried to make it easy for you and outlined the data needed to justify your statements. We are waiting for your real facts / hard data to back your statements, otherwise your posts should be dismissed as fraudulent.

Please also show where I wrote that "most Hispanic people are illegal". You can't because I never wrote that.

No worries, we will give you more time to prove your claims. Sadly it appears you are one of those that lose sleep over your misinfomation and post incomplete retorts while the rest of us with sound truthful minds are able to sleep.

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cwkimbro 1 year ago

Then you need to hold yourself and everyone else I'm replying to to the same standard and not just pinpoint me!

I have lived here my whole life and watch this county grow. For a very long time most the reason people moved here was for the local schools. The school system has also won several large national awards and the student population swelled to the largest in the state.

Hispanics are still a minority in this county and most are not illegal and many of them are legal immigrants to begin with. I know this from first hand experience.

As far as discussing fraudulance, give me a freaking break. No one else here has appropriately used data to prove anything, including yourself.

Prove all these people are illegal. Prove that our county hasn't flourished from people moving here for good schools. I don't see you or anyone else doing this. So if you want to dismiss anyone... start with yourself or the original comments that I was replying to, which included people whining about us spending all this money just to educate 'illegals' (or maybe you didn't read the whole discussion?)

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jcru 1 year, 1 month ago

Good God is every problem going to be blamed on 'illegals?' I rather pay for kids that may not be here legally than idiots that do nothing in class and their parents don't pay taxes. At least most of the 'illegals' are trying to better themselves and not trying to get knocked up by the age of 16 by at least 1 of 3 baby daddies they will have in their lifetime. OH! And FYI. The majority of the 'illegals' you complain about foot their fair share of taxes. They pay into the system and the government knows they are here. Do you really think they are going to deport the ones that are probably already paying your social security you are collecting? I hate to tell you but times are changing and soon YOU will be the minority not the majority. Get off your high horse and find another group of people to blame America's problems on. The argument that it's all the 'illegals' fault had been beaten into the ground. Try to come up with something original.

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John5214 1 year, 1 month ago

JCRU, you are soooooo naive. You believe all spin on TV and the print media. Maybe someday you will be able to think for yourself. When you do, I hope it is not too late. PS: Give me your address so I can send you my tax bill. That original enough for you?

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cwkimbro 1 year ago

Are you so naive to believe that most students in the GCPS system are illegals and we only build new schools for them?

Are you so naive to believe this type of public spending plays absolutely no role in the value of your property?

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SurelyNot 1 year ago

@jcru: great response!

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Tiger_holla 1 year, 1 month ago

Not sure why we need another High School. Maybe we should look at redrawing the current lines of the school districts we have. Some of our high schools have space for more kids.

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Why_not 1 year, 1 month ago

All you have to do is look how the enrollment numbers have increased....Berkmar and Central are packed now and have been for years.

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cwkimbro 1 year ago

You must be new here. Traditionally most of our high schools have been full of trailers. It has only been in the last 5-10 years we have gotten many of our schools to have a stable capacity population, largely thanks to ESPLOST and the regional growth slow down.

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rmcd125 1 year, 1 month ago

When is Gwinnett County going to build the new High School on Sardis Church to relief Mill Creek High School? Poor Mill Creek looks like a Trailer Park behind the school.

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Why_not 1 year, 1 month ago

I am almost positive that the five new schools planned or proposed will be paid for with SPLOST funds.

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cwkimbro 1 year ago

Yes, almost all of the school additions, expansions, and new-built schools in the last 15+ years were built from SPLOST revenues. All of the future planning to handle Gwinnett's population growth also rely on the SPLOST as there is little room for the general budget to handle anything other than operations.

This can be found on the schools systems websites under "planning for our future"

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