Chambley talks consolidation at GVACC event – Valley Times-News
Chambley talks consolidation at GVACC event
Posted at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, November 11, 2022
School District Superintendent Casey Chambley spoke at the Chambers County School District’s first luncheon since the pandemic hosted by the Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce. As the keynote speaker, Chambley discussed the county’s high school consolidation and answered questions about next steps.
This comes after the school board decided to build the new combined school building that will serve Valley and LaFayette High students in Valley.
According to Chambley, the school board hopes to move into the new building by the 2025-2026 school year. During his speech, he said the school board had hired an Atlanta-based architectural firm called Cooper Carry to advance the building’s schematics.
“They got an order to do some site surveys and looking at different things on the site,” Chambley said. “So they are advancing, that the schematics should now be finished in December. We should be moving forward with other design aspects in January-February.
The school district and Cooper Carry will is hosting an open house on November 17 at the Valley Community Center. The purpose of the meeting is to get community feedback on details such as the school’s new colors, mascot, name, and architectural design. Tables will be set up and citizens will bring a passport to each table to give their opinion.
Chambley said the event will be an opportunity to get to know your community.
The superintendent added that many citizens have asked why there won’t be a similar event in LaFayette.
According to Chambley, the school board needed to find a neutral building that could accommodate everyone, and there was no place in LaFayette that could accommodate them.
“One of the reasons is that if we combine, we have to get to where we stop having separate meetings,” Chambley said at the event. “We didn’t want to do it in any of our high school gymnasiums. We thought there would be too much emotional connection there to hold this event at these facilities.
Chambley said he met with bond agents on Tuesday to secure financing. According to Chambley, when he met the bond agents last year, he could have borrowed $70 million with a debt payment of $2.5 million. Now, as interest rates rise, the payment on the $70 million will be $5 million.
“I tried to get our council to borrow the money last year to move forward and secure the funds,” Chambley said. “I could have borrowed $70 million last year, put the $70 million in the bank, had it in CDs or other interest-earning things and made money to pay the interest even though we weren’t using the money.”
In response to a question from attendees, Chambley said that from now on, the first schematic designs will have the new building at 170,000-190,000 square feet. This means that the building will have a capacity of around 1200 students, depending on what happened with career technology.
“We expect some growth because there is some growth in Chambers County if you look at the census. It’s just growth in some areas,” Chambley said. “We think there’s going to be growth, but it’s developing more on the valley side.”