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FRONT PAGE - FEBRUARY 16, 2000 - JEFFERSON, GA

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Swingin' at the sock hop


Kali Smith and Matthew Buchanan took a swing around the gym floor during a "Sweetheart Sock Hop" held Friday night at Jackson County Elementary School. The event was sponsored by the school's PTO.
Photo by Jana Adams


GROWTH

Two more units will be added at power plant
The Georgia Power Company has decided to build two more 80-megawatt generating units at its peak power plant in Center next year.
Eight units are currently under construction at an estimated cost of $200 million on Jarrett Road, just off Hwy. 441 across from Louisiana Pacific. Those plants are due to come on line starting in March, the first phase of what could eventually be a 16-unit plant.
Georgia Power plans to use the gas-fueled generators during times of peak electrical demand. The process is more expensive per kilowatt hour than conventional generating plants, but the cost is more than offset by the savings over purchasing power to meet peak demands.
"We plan to build two more units in 2001, but we have made no other decisions beyond that," explained John Sell, a media relations official for Georgia Power.
The company has a contract with the Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority for up to 900 gallons per minute after July, 2001. It will begin taking county water ­ most of it from Commerce ­ in March, when it will need 200 gallons per minute. Starting June 1, the company's contract calls for it to receive up to 450,000 gallons per minute, which was the company's original estimate to cover eight units.
According to Sell, the company believes it can bring the two additional units on line without exercising its option to go over the 450,000 gpm mark.
The two additional units will increase Georgia Power's investment at the Center site to $250 million, according to Sell. If all 16 are built, the project's estimated cost would hit $400 million, by far the largest industrial project in the county.
Originally, it was thought that Georgia Power would build in two eight-unit phases, but the decision to add two units during 2001 is a departure from that philosophy.
Meanwhile, the water authority is building lines to bring water to the plant, both from its current system and from the Bear Creek Reservoir, which is projected to come on line in July, 2001.
Last Thursday night, the authority's engineer, Charlie Armentrout, told members that the water storage tank, pump station, piping, etc., has been built and that General Electric is testing its equipment on the site.
"Georgia Power is still scheduled to receive water for generation in June," he said. "Our contract says the flat fee begins in March."
Plans for a water line from Hwy. 129 east to Hwy. 441, some 52,000 feet of 16-inch pipes, have been submitted to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division for approval. Armentrout projected that the authority would be able to advertise for bids on that project in 60 days.
Armentrout is also designing a line from South Jackson to the Bear Creek Reservoir, and he expects those plans to be sent for EPD approval within a month.
Speaking at last Thursday's regular water authority meeting, Armentrout predicted that Georgia Power would build more units.
"I think they're going to commit to the other units," he said. "They sure have the site developed for it. They have 400 or 500 employees, from subcontractors, on the site."
The authority expects to use water purchased from Commerce for the plant, but also plans on using more expensive water from Athens-Clarke County at times of peak demand. Its contract with Georgia Power protects the authority in the event that the authority has to use greater amounts of water from Athens-Clarke.


New athletic facilities could be under way for JCCHS
BY ADAM FOUCHE
A new field house and wrestling complex addition could soon be under construction at Jackson County Comprehensive High School.
The Jackson County Board of Education voted Monday night to give superintendent Andy Byers the go-ahead to begin to develop plans and a budget for the construction of the facilities.
During the January meeting, athletic director and head football coach Greg Lowe asked the board to look into upgrading the school's facilities.
"We have good facilities for the spectators," Lowe said in January. "We have to share dressing facilities with the basketball program. We need to look at fixing it with an adequate field house."
Board member Kathy Wilbanks agreed with Lowe's assessment.
"We do need a new field house," she said in January.
At its meeting Monday night the BOE also:
·agreed to begin accepting bids on Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. for the construction of West Jackson Elementary School. The board also called for a special meeting on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. to consider the bids.
·approved a list of surplus equipment for sale or disposal.
·learned the bus replacement fund is more than $25,000 over budget for the year.
·learned author Jim Trelease will be speaking at JCCHS on March 7.
·heard a presentation from the JCCHS Do Something League about a new mentoring program called "Panther Pals."
·heard from chairman Barry Cronic, who told the system's faculty and staff that he was impressed with the condition of the schools after touring them with the board last week.
·approved the 2000-01 school year FTE contract for RESA membership as is required by the state audit division.
·learned that the expansion of Hwy. 129 could affect the entrance to South Jackson Elementary School. Byers told the board he is still working with the Department of Transportation on the plans for the expansion in front of the school.
·approved the following substitute teachers for the 1999-2000 school year: Melissa Harrelson, Nicole W. Webb, A. Jill Sosebee, Kimberly D. Kiley, Rebecca P. Quintana, Kimberly L. Barber, Rena W. Poe, Janice L. Perry, Joy J. Faulkner and Vicki G. Hanson.
·approved the following individuals for employment: Paul McDaniel, custodian, Gordon Street Center; Ronald Pichan, teacher, day alternative, GSC; Joy Faulkner, bus driver, Benton Elementary School; Kenneth Barnett, bus driver, systemwide substitute; Joan Martin, food service, North Jackson Elementary School; Frances Brooks, food service, Jackson County Elementary School; Matthew Ernest Casalini, maintenance, systemwide; and Pamela Hightower, bus driver, systemwide substitute.
·accepted the following resignations: Brenda Jones, Ralph Brooks, Muarl Davis, David Gillespie, Jennifer Kesler, Linda Ward, Patsy Howard and Tammy Smith.


EDUCATION

Jefferson BOE adopts out-of-district policy
By Jana Adams
The Jefferson Board of Education approved a policy Thursday night that will require out-of-district students to apply for admission to Jefferson City schools. Upon acceptance, students and parents will sign a contract pledging good behavior on the student's part and parental cooperation in academic efforts.
The BOE discussed the policy at its January meeting and voted in its favor Thursday. The only change the board made to the policy was to strike a statement that said non-resident students could be removed from the school system because of lack of space.
"We want to implement this for the coming year," said BOE chairman Ronnie Hopkins. "It's basically set up for new enrollees."
The policy will be in effect for the 2000-01 school year. To date, the Jefferson schools had no such enrollment policy, but established this one in response to a dramatic increase in student population in the past two years.
The policy states that additional non-resident students will not be accepted for a class, grade, school or program that has reached 95 percent of its limit set by the board. Non-residents already enrolled will be grandfathered in.
"We may already be there (at 95 percent) in some programs now," Hopkins said. "We will determine the 95 percent limits. We will probably seek staff recommendations on limits."
At this point, the policy is not retroactive and does not require those non-resident students already enrolled to sign the agreement. But the board approved the policy with the understanding that it could be amended.
"We may want to look, at some point, at making it retroactive," Hopkins said. "We will have to talk about whether to extend it to the out-of-district students already enrolled as a contingency for their staying enrolled."


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