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New school causes problems

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August 27, 2003

Albany - People in Northwest Albany don't want a school in their back yard. Dougherty County school board members narrowed the proposed sites for a new Elementary School on Wednesday. People in the Doublegate area mounted a fight against a new school in their neighborhood, and they successfully got school board members to eliminate a site off Old Dawson Road. But, the original site they fought years ago, Home Drive, is now being considered again.

Homeowners were surprised to find out this week the school board was considering building a new school on land near the Doublegate Country Club on Old Dawson Road. So Tuesday night they started a petition in opposition. "In about three hours, we had 73 people sign a petition against the school coming to the Old Dawson site," said George McIntosh.

For some, this is a battle they fought before. Another proposed site for Northwest Elementary is less than a mile away on Home Drive. And, neighbors complained about that site years ago. Their major concern is the same for both plots - traffic.

"They need a site that can handle school bus traffic," said Elizabeth Klemann. "You can't add school bus traffic on this road without disrupting everything around it."

A major complaint of the Home drive and Old Dawson site is that buses would access the school for a busy two lane road. But at the Gillionville Road site, construction is already underway to make the road four lane which would allow easier access to the school.

The 19 acres plot on Gillionville, just past Lockett Station, is a perfect site for the school according to school board member David Maschke. But, other members disagree.           "I haven't decided which site would be the best," said board member Michael Windom. "That's why I didn't vote to go ahead with the Gillionville site now."

After hearing complaints about the Old Dawson site, board members took it off the list. But, they wouldn't agree to build on Gillionville or to sell the Home Drive leaving people in Doublegate back at square one.

Board members didn't say when they will vote on a site for the new school.

Posted at 5:00PM by kathryn.murchison@walb.com