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October 31--  The Vidalia school board plans to hire a construction manager to oversee two construction projects for the school system.

Board members voted to pay an overseer from three to ten percent of the overall project cost for work at J.D. Dickerson Primary School and J.R. Trippe Middle School.

According to School Superintendent Dr. Tim Smith, "At J.D. Dickerson we're planning on a complete renovation of that building except for the pre-K building which is new and the library which is relatively new.  All the classrooms, bathrooms and office spaces and we will take what is the current kitchen and dining room and that will all become dining room and we will build a new kitchen.  At J.R. Trippe we've been needing a field house and we are going to put a conditioner in that gym to try and cool it down some."

The projects are being funded with sales tax collections from a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax which expires in 2014.  Dr. Smith says Vidalia schools and the Toombs County school system plan to seek a five-year extension to the sales tax for education.

"We're looking at the next SPLOST that we are going to try to get passed in March.  The vast majority of that for Vidalia will go into the instructional program itself.  We owe it to our students to prepare them to work in the 21st century.  If you're going to work at just about any job in the next 20 years, you're going to have to be prepared technologically and we need to make a move to prepare our students for just that," Dr. Smith says.

Dr. Smith believes wireless technology will mean the school system can save money on books in the future.

"We'd like to have all of our buildings wireless so we can go to Ebooks and Ipads instead of carrying around textbooks.  In the long run, that will really be a moneysaver for us," he says.

In other actions at its meeting, the school board approved $5,000 as its share of $28,390  startup costs for the new JROTC program at the Southeast Early College and Career Academy in Vidalia.