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School board buys remainder of property across from Southside

The Grady County Board of Education has approved the purchase of a final tract of land it wanted on Third Street S.E., across from the Southside Elementary School campus.
On Tuesday night, the board voted unanimously to approve the purchase of the Thorsby property at 430 Third St. S.E. for the negotiated price of $20,387. Attorney Thomas L. Lehman has negotiated the purchase of all of the properties the school system has purchased on Third Street S.E.
“We now own or control all but two tracts on Third Street S.E. across from the Southside campus,” School Superintendent Dr. Kermit Gilliard said Tuesday night.
The only properties the system is not purchasing are the two residences on each end of Third Street.
According to Dr. Gilliard, the Thorsby heirs plan on removing the structures from 430 Third St. S.E. The remaining two homes on school system property previously purchased will be advertised as surplus and will be required to be moved.
The school board began the process of purchasing the Third Street S.E. properties under the administration of former superintendent Lee M. Bailey. Bailey’s plan was to provide space for additional parking for a soon-to-be renovated school auditorium as well as to provide a staging area for construction crews working on the major facilities project at the school.
Dr. Gilliard updated the board Tuesday night on the progress being made on the Southside auditorium project. According to the superintendent, the project is on schedule and no termite damage has been found in the auditorium portion of the building.
Gilliard reported that the plumbing was being roughed in this week and duct work was being installed on the balcony level of the building, as well.
The school system’s architect, Ray Finger, has also submitted revised plans for the new administrative building and classroom wings to the Georgia Department of Education for its approval, according to Dr. Gilliard. Once the plans are approved, the school system will solicit cost estimates for the new construction at Southside.
Dr. Gilliard also reported that school system officials and representatives of the architectural firm Buckley & Associates, who are working on the new Cairo High School College and Career Academy, will meet with City of Cairo officials today, Sept. 9, to discuss the storm water management plan for the new facility to be constructed at the south end of the CHS campus.
In other business Tuesday night, the school board:
Heard an enrollment update from Dr. Gilliard. The superintendent reported that on the first day of school total enrollment was 4,424 and as of Tuesday that number had increased to 4,602, which is an increase of 178 students from the first day of the new school term.
Received an overview of the recent series of six public forums held for the development of a strategic plan for the school system. According to Dr. Gilliard, 54 individuals participated. The superintendent is planning to hold a meeting on Sept. 15 at 4 p.m., which he said he hopes will be attended by a number of classroom teachers. “Before I bring back to you a final document, I would like to have more teacher input particularly on the student achievement piece,” Dr. Gilliard said.
Declared a number of items surplus property including: a 1994 GMC Safari Van; a 1997 Dodge B3500 Maxiwagon; a 1,000 gallon fuel tank; a 500 gallon fuel tank; a 280 gallon fuel tank; and three school buses ranging from 1995 to 1998 models. The board also declared surplus 60 iPads that are no longer needed at Cairo High School and the surplus units will be awarded to students as part of a new incentive program to promote good behavior and citizenship instituted by CHS Principal Chris Lokey.
Approved the hiring of the following personnel: Elizabeth Logue – special ed paraprofessional at Southside; Joshua Dale – math teacher at Washington Middle School; and Misty Cox – special ed parapro at Whigham School.
Accepted the resignations of the following: Casey Connell – math teacher at Washington Middle School; Robin Downing – special ed teacher at Southside; Helen Morrell – special ed bus aide; Melissa Clark – bus driver; and Tracey Thomason – special ed parapro at Whigham.
Heard an update from Finance Officer Dan Broome that he has made arrangements to pay off the series 2005 revenue bonds by Oct. 1 that were issued in large part to fund construction of the new CHS gymnasium.

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