By Diana Bowley, Of the NEWS Staff - GARLAND - SAD 46 officials learned Wednesday that suitable sites for the development of a new school building have been identified and appraisals have been obtained. The district received notification about three years ago that its application for a new middle school had been placed on a priority list for funding. Months later, however, state education officials advised the district that it had to exhaust all efforts at regionalization first before it received any funds.
Discussions on regionalization were held between officials in SAD 46 and surrounding districts. Since then, SAD 46 officials have begun looking at consolidation within the district such as a combined elementary and middle school.
Mike McCormick, chairman of the board's facilities and transportation committee, said Wednesday after the meeting that his committee had not yet embraced a concept for a new school. He anticipated that once the board settled on a concept and received site approval from the state, the project would be presented to voters in a June 2005 referendum.
Seven subcommittees will be working on the project, according to McCormick. These committees will cover site selection and development, athletic fields, mechanical, technology, programs and space, moveable equipment and public relations.
While that work is under way, directors also agreed Wednesday to have a facilities assessment conducted in the district. The cost, which has not yet been determined, likely would be reimbursed by the state. The study would identify any issues and problems the district has with its facilities.
In other business Wednesday, directors approved a cooperative agreement for the operation of Tri-County Technical Center. The contract, which provides a cost-sharing formula for school districts that send students to the center, is the same as last year.
Director Art Jette noted that the current cooperative agreement is now being used as a model to provide a method of funding for other regional costs outside of technical education. That shows that "everything is working fine," he said.
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