School Board Approves $63.5M Contract to Build New High School
In a unanimous vote, school district leaders approved a contract that will bring another high school to Gwinnett County.
Gwinnett County Board of Education members voted unanimously Thursday (March 28) to begin construction on a high school that is expected to relieve pressure within the Berkmar and Central Gwinnett clusters.
In its vote, the school board approved a $63.5 million contract with Gainesville-based Carroll Daniel Construction Co. The company's bid is about $600,000 less than the next lowest bidder, according to school officials.
The school will be built at 1335 Old Norcross Road in Lawrenceville, and it will be the district's 20th high school.
It will have a capacity of about 1,800 students. Those students will come from Berkmar High School, which has a population of about 3,000 students, and Central Gwinnett High School, which has a population of about 2,500.
Why a New School?
Both schools utilize trailers for classrooms. With the new high school there will be an additional 53 classrooms, according to school district data. This will enable the district to transition students away from portable classrooms.
The new school is still in the design phase, but officials say it will open in August 2015. It is the only new high school planned for construction within the the next five years.
Funds for the school were approved in November 2011, when Gwinnett County citizens voted to for another five years of an education special purpose local option sales tax (ESPLOST).
Besides the new high school, there will be four other new facilities: a Peachtree Ridge Cluster middle school to open next year, a Berkmar/Central Gwinnett cluster elementary school, a Meadowcreek Cluster elementary school, and a Central Gwinnett Cluster middle school, which will open in 2015.
A bus facility and a number of additions and renovations also are included in the plans.
District Keeps Growing
Many of the plans in the current ESPLOST building program were made to address the district's robust size. School officials are projecting enrollment to grow to 166,667 students by October 2013.
That's about 1,700 more students than this year, officials said. The number pales in comparison to year's past, according to state report cards for Gwinnett County.
The data shows that in the 2004-2005 school year, enrollment increased by 6,300; in the 2005-2006 school year, enrollment increased by about 9,200; and in the 2006-2007 school year, enrollment increased by about 7,400.