Because the school is in its preliminary design process, the school system is unable at this time to reveal to the public some details concerning dimensions and layout. However, the school system has been enthusiastic about the concept of the new AMS.
"Essentially, we're going to try and build a school that acts as a footprint where students would work in grade-specific wings," Superintendent John Harper said.
Harper said grouping together students of the same grade level will have many benefits, such as helping to reduce the overall flow of student traffic around the building. He explained the grade-specific wings will end at a hallway that leads to areas where students of varying grade levels congregate, such as the lunchroom or gym.
"This plan is very unique to Adairsville," said board member and former Cartersville Middle School guidance counselor Wanda Cagle Gray. "It is so important for students in sixth to eighth grade to be with their peers."
School board member and former Adairsville High School principal Larry Parker said the new AMS will be a "community effort."
"I really think the people who work in (the schools) day in and day out know what is needed," Parker said. "It all comes down to the kids, and I feel the school board is looking at things the right way."
Bartow County voters in July approved the district to issue $70 million in general obligation debt to help acquire land for and construct its future facilities, make technology improvements, refurbish existing facilities and purchase school buses. The authorization was a part of the approved continuation of the local education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, which will see the 1-cent tax continue to be levied for five more years starting in July 2012, with its proceeds going to the county school system and Cartersville City Schools.
The district plans to build new schools that would replace the existing AMS as well as Cloverleaf Elementary School and Emerson Elementary School. In December, the board approved for the district to enter two bond purchase agreements with Robert W. Baird & Co.
One agreement saw the purchase of $47 million in tax-exempt bonds that will have maturity dates in 2013 through 2016. Another agreement saw the issuance of $23 million in taxable, interest-free direct pay qualified school construction bonds with maturities in 2016 and 2017.
In other work session news, the board discussed the second reading on a state-mandated code of ethics policy for board members and a board members' conflict of interest policy.
"If everybody would just do the right thing, we wouldn't have to have (a code of ethics policy)," Gray said. "However, I feel every business and organization needs a code of ethics so everyone will be on the same page...especially if they serve the public."
The state board of education in October adopted Local School Board Governance Standards and a Model Ethics Policy that includes conflicts of interest for local school boards.
Associate Superintendent Ben Desper explained the board is required to hold the policies for two months (readings) before voting for approval. The board is expected to vote on the second reading of the ethics policy and conflict of interest policy during their monthly business session Monday, Feb. 14.
The board last month delayed approval of the first reading of a policy concerning solicitation and gifts for school faculty and staff, but also is expected to vote on the policy's first reading during their business session.
-- Former The Daily Tribune News reporter Jon Gargis contributed to this article.