ATHENS, Ga. — The Barrow County Board of Education and the Barrow County Board of Commissioners will continue their discussion about plans to build an amphitheater on the Sims Academy Campus on Austin Road.

“We feel it could meet an unmet need,” said Assistant Superintendent System Operations, Joe Perno who acknowledged it would be the first venue in the county that would accommodate an outdoor performance.  “We believe our schools could use it for their performing arts programs, but then beyond that there may be a community use as well.”

Rendering of new amphitheater provided by Barrow County Board of Education
Rendering of new amphitheater provided by Barrow County Board of Education

The amphitheater will not be big enough for graduations, but Perno said the high school’s band and choral programs would also benefit from the structure besides the performing arts programs for which it is intended.

Currently both groups are in the process of working with an acoustical engineer to make sure the location is good for the venue.  The engineer has not been to the location yet, and the school board is still waiting for feedback about the project.

The necessary funds have been approved and allocated through a Barrow County S.P.L.O.S.T tax. “Our budget for (the project) is $4.3 million and we’ve got allocated about 3.2 of that for construction, and about a million just for design, inspection, testing…”

Blue Prints provided by Barrow County Board of Education
Blue Prints provided by Barrow County Board of Education

Perno explained that they will just be bringing a committee report tomorrow to the work session and it will be up to the Board of Education where they go from there.  If approved, they are planning to have it completed by May of 2017, but since the date is not at the beginning of the school year, it has not been solidified as a concrete deadline.

-Brett Homer

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