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Activity buildings highlight Decatur schools' plan

By Bayne Hughes 340-2432

Activity buildings, minor renovations, air conditioning systems and roofs highlight Decatur City Schools' capital outlay plan for 2008.

The school board approved about $7.4 million in projects, including about $7.3 million funded with a bond issue the state Legislature approved.

Finance Director Melanie Maples said the plans called for Walter Jackson, Woodmeade, Eastwood and Frances Nungester elementary schools to each get a $500,000 activity building. The board will also do air conditioning, electrical, lighting and window updates and other renovations at Walter Jackson, Woodmeade, Eastwood and Austinville elementary schools.

The plan schedules a renovation of the Decatur High School library for $250,000, although school board member Karen Duke questioned the cost estimate for that project. Duke, a former assistant principal at the school, said previous estimates put the cost at about $1 million, and Maples assured her that the project would be done properly.

Somerville Road Elementary, the central office, Decatur High's south wing, Woodmeade and the Professional Training Center will get new roofs.

Maples said Decatur High boosters raised $170,000 to upgrade the area called "The Hill," located off Somerville Road near the baseball field and Ogle Stadium.

About $600,000 will go toward the completion of Austin High School's science and social studies building.

The school system will begin a $1.1 million renovation of Austin's auditorium, spending $200,000 this year and $900,000 in fiscal 2009.

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