Two years ago Fort Gordon met with Richmond County school officials and requested that the Army post be considered as the future site for an elementary school to house predominantly military family students. Fort officials agreed to convey a significant amount of land, subject to federal regulations on leasehold interests, on a long-term basis to allow school construction.
It seemed like "a win-win" proposition then, and it seems so now. A Board of Education majority should vote to send a letter of intent to the fort -- a formal, first notification of the desire to build.
Money for the first-ever public school at the post wouldn't be available until after 2001, and would be underwritten by leftover funds from the county's 1-cent school sales tax now being collected.
Superintendent Dr. Charles Larke has studied other school districts which have military reservation facilities, and recommends a "green light." The schools are subject to local control, and would remain open no matter what.
The need to address overcrowding is a major concern, and this school would provide relief. The only sour note comes from the short-sighted Builders Association of Augusta. It fears construction would "probably" cost more due to the Davis-Bacon Act. Two points: 1) The generous land offer is hard to reject; and 2) the Association, instead, ought to redouble efforts with Republicans in Congress who seek to amend Davis-Bacon to make such nationwide construction more palatable.
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