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January 15--  The Vidalia school board is discussing construction options at Vidalia High School.

At its January meeting Tuesday night, architect Mike Parker briefed the board on the possibilities regarding the 40-year-old building.  Any decisions could take up to three years to implement and he said it's important to begin the discussion now.

He advised the board to, "have a vision and start doing the research to make sure that vision is headed in the right direction so we can maximize every dollar."

If the board decides to take action, Parker says it can choose to renovate, modernize or build a new school.  Each option earns the school system a different amount of state funding and impacts the amount of local dollars required for the project.

Parker estimates modernization of the current building would cost up to $18 million and a new building could be as much as $30 million.

"In round numbers the renovation may get $10 to $12 dollars a square foot in state money.  If they approve modernization, you get between $50 and $60 dollars a square foot.  New construction is about $85 dollars a square foot.

"Each process is a different amount, but you also have to look at what local dollars you have to contribute.

"We want to start now working with the state to make sure we do the right form of funding so we maximize the local dollar and stretch it as far as possible," he said.

Parker said a logical location for a new building would be on the site of the old Oxford Plant which is school system property adjacent to the high school.

Meanwhile, the board is also considering a $1.5 million project thus summer at J.R.Trippe Middle School including replacing portions of the heating and air system and the roof plus some interior finishing work.