ESPLOST Survey results in clear winner


ELLIJAY, Ga. – With almost 2,000 people responding to their ESPLOST Survey, the Gilmer County Board of Education released the results at their June Meeting.

The choices include a Performing/Fine Arts Center (on GHS Campus), a Multi-use Sports Facility (Gym, Weight Rooms, wrestling center, batting cages, track), or an Indoor Swimming Pool.

Collecting more votes than the other two options combined, the Performing/Fine Arts Center (on GHS Campus) reached 1,069 votes.

Multi-use Sports Facility collected 684 votes and the Indoor Swimming Pool collected 282 votes.

Though seen as a somewhat surprising result according to Gilmer County Charter School Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs, she encouraged the Board to bear the survey’s results in mind as the moved forward with preparations for the ESPLOST referendum. While it is likely this vote will be seen as early as this November on the ballot, the ESPLOST cycle would not take effect until 2020. With the five-year cycles, the Board is attempting to plan several years ahead as they or only now at the midpoint of the current cycle.

While this may seem far off, officials say it is imperative to begin preparations now so that the voting, investigations, and preparations are in place when the 2020 cycle begins to move forward with the work as quickly as possible.

This does mean, however, that as the Board contemplates their survey, if they move forward with the Performing Arts center included as it seems they will, there are currently no plans setting when they will begin the project within the five-year cycle.

The project would stand next to others like the construction of a new Elementary School at the Board’s Clear Creek Property to replace the aging Ellijay Primary School currently in town on McCutchen Street.

Check out the Survey Results for the full tally and comments.


  1. Concerned Citizen June 30, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    These results are not trustworthy in the least as the poll was not scientific. Surveymonkey is easily exploited and manipulated, there wasn’t even a requirement to identify yourself as a member of Gilmer county. If the BoE is truly interested in polling the county on this issue, they should conduct a proper survey via mail or phone, I hope they won’t try to utilize this as justification for future spending.

  2. Another Concerned Citizen July 2, 2018 at 10:02 pm

    The BOE has listed a PAC on every ESPLOST wish list since 1999 but it is pushed to the bottom of the list and eventually off of the list every single time. Why does this happen? Because the BOE has never seen the true value of the arts programs. More students go to college on scholarships here in this county who are members of band, chorus, drama, and visual arts than any other group, ATHLETES included. Built properly, managed properly, and advertised properly, a PAC could be a great asset to the schools and to the community. It must be large – at least 1,500 seats. It must be equipped with state of the art lighting and sound AND leave room for expansions and upgrades to these systems. It must have a house manager on site at least half time. Finally, the BOE can’t just let anyone and everyone use it for FREE!!! Gilmer Arts, start paying to use the facilities again or stay at your own Playhouse!

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