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story.lead_photo.caption Architects from Hollis + Miller present potential projects to the Fulton Public Schools board of education Wednesday evening at a special meeting. These potential projects are the next step in the FPS' ongoing strategic plan. Photo by Quinn Wilson / Fulton Sun.

The Fulton Public Schools board of education held a special meeting Wednesday evening to review options for their next step in their strategic plan.

Architects from Hollis + Miller were in attendance at the meeting to present the board with the potential projects they plan present to the public at an Aug. 29 community forum. The projects are to address space issues at all FPS facilities.

"The teachers really just want more academic space, we're busting at the seams already," Fulton High School Principal Kati Boland said.

FPS Superintendent Jacque Cowherd said the board's top priorities for the upcoming projects include implementing preschool programs for everyone, reaching desirable classroom size, upgrading elementary gyms, upgrading an existing "pole barn" at Fulton Middle School, and upgrading the gymnasium and the nurse's office at Fulton High School.

Justin Durham and Grant Thome from Hollis + Miller presented their options, which consisted of three potential projects. The first project would have a larger emphasis on upgrading the gymnasium at FHS while the second project would have a larger emphasis on expanding kindergarten classrooms to reach a desirable class size.

The third potential project would be contingent on FPS purchasing the vacant Rice Hall in Fulton and turning it into another elementary school. However, Cowherd said, this would be a much more difficult process as the district would have to obtain the building from the state through a bid process.

"I told (Durham) that we may take that option off the table for now. It may still be something out there, but we'd still have to let legislation play out and go through the bid process," Cowherd said.

According to Cowherd, the board will be finalizing these projects by January at the latest in order to authorize a public vote.

Durham and Thome plan to present these options at the community forum to get input from the public. One of the primary concerns of both FPS board members and meeting attendees was attendance concerns at the forum.

"We need to get this information out to as many people as possible and we just need to find the best way to do so," said Emily Omohundro, president of the FPS school board.

Durham brought up the possible solution of a stream on Facebook Live to help out low attendance from the community. He explained in other rural school districts, they have planned projects for that Facebook Live, which has increased engagement significantly.

"Everybody's got an opinion on Facebook," FPS board member Todd Gray said.

The FPS school board will hold a general meeting and a tax levy hearing on Aug. 21 at FHS. The community forum is scheduled for 6 p.m. Aug. 29 at McIntire Elementary.

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