Fulton County school officials plan to relocate the system’s central administrative offices to Sandy Springs.

The system said in a press release that the school board Oct. 15 approved the purchase and renovation of two office buildings to house a majority of the system’s support personnel. Those employees now are distributed throughout the county.

The system will close six of its oldest buildings and relocate the employees into three buildings, it said in a press release. District spokeswoman Susan Hale said the cost of moving the office is projected at about $34 million, where the cost of renovating existing buildings was projected to be about $56 million.

The new system administrative center will be located at 6201 Powers Ferry Road in Sandy Springs, the system said in a press release. Other administrative support staff will be housed at 450 Northridge Parkway in Sandy Springs and at 4025 Flat Shoals Road in Union City, the school system said.

“Since I joined the Fulton County School System, I’ve been examining how our central office operates, how it could provide more support to schools and how it could be more efficient,” Superintendent Robert Avossa said in the press release.

“Consolidating our support centers will provide greater service to students and the money saved in operational costs will benefit our taxpayers. These savings can be redirected to the classroom and invested into student learning.”

School officials plan to move the offices by September 2014, the system said.

School Board President Linda Schultz said a factor in deciding to move the central office was the district’s shift in student population.

“We’ve known for years that these buildings were close to the end of their life cycle, but our focus has been on providing quality schools for students and teachers,” she said. “But like older schools, administrative buildings become harder to maintain and costlier to operate as they age. When the time came to consider improved facilities, we knew it was also the time to look at the current location of our administrative centers and whether they were in the right place.”

In the late 1950s, when the current Administrative Center opened in southwest Atlanta in a renovated office building, Fulton’s student population base was mostly located in South Fulton, the system said, and the location was considered the geographic center of the district’s student population. Due to growth in north Fulton, data from the 2010 Census shows that Sandy Springs is now the district’s student population center, the system said.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.