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Athens High School to get science wing, gym roof

By Holly Hollman 340-2445

ATHENS — New science opportunities and a busing system are shortly coming to Athens City Schools.

Upgraded athletic facilities, however, can't come soon enough for one parent.

On Thursday, the Board of Education accepted a bid from Pierce Construction for $1,532,242 to build a science wing at Athens High and replace the gym's roof.

Superintendent Orman Bridges Jr. said workers have a 210-day contract to finish the science wing, which will be behind the school.

Work on the gym roof, he said, won't begin until summer, when school is out.

The board also accepted a bid from Southland International to buy 14 buses for $1,007,754. The system will implement busing for the 2007-08 school year. Now, the system only has limited busing, such as for special-needs students.

Work on a $5 million athletic complex behind Athens High still is in the planning stages, Bridges said.

That concerns parent Mark Gibson, who told the board that girls spring teams don't have locker rooms, leaving girls to change in vehicles or the McDonald's restroom across from Athens High.

Architects with Hart, Freeland and Roberts have given the board a three-phase plan that includes a new baseball field with bleachers, lights and dugout; moving the soccer field and adding lights; moving the softball field and adding concessions for it and baseball; and having locker rooms, a press box and a ticket booth teams can share.

Director of Finance Barry Hamilton said the work on girls spring sports facilities will have to wait until after the season.

"We couldn't do the work in (last) fall and have the fields ready by spring," he said.

Bridges said he has a meeting with the architects next week to discuss the schedule.

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