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Former Rivers Elementary sale closes for $5.17 million

The largely-unused Rivers Elementary School on Sandy Creek Road is no more. The building is still there and may be destined for a great deal of academic activity in the future, but for a completely different purpose.

The $5.17 million sale by the Fayette County School System to River’s Rock II, LLC, closed on Sept. 12, paving the way for the building and grounds to be the home of Pinewood Atlanta Studios’ new educational component. The sale was announced in May.

Previous statements released through Pinewood noted that the film company was interested in a “vocational job skills training component” to produce the necessary workforce for the hundreds of new jobs to be created at the studio. Currently unknown is the make-up of colleges, universities or technical schools that will populate the former elementary school property.

In terms of geography, the school’s location on Sandy Creek Road could hardly be better to serve as an educational component since Pinewood Atlanta Studios is directly across the street on Sandy Creek Road.

And while there has been no word on a timeline for classes to begin, the studio has just completed raising the four buildings included in Phase 1A of the large studio complex situated on 288 acres. Phase 1A includes two 30,000 square-foot soundstages, a 40,000 square-foot sound stage and a 45,000 square-foot workshop.

Meantime, the studio will open in January, in time for its first production.

Proceeds from the sale of Rivers Elementary will be used to pay down the school system’s bond debt and has been figured into a bond debt refinancing vehicle approved Monday night by the school board. The refinancing of the Series 2005 and 2007 bonds includes an interest rate lowered from 4.45-5 percent to 2.53 percent and will result in a savings of $2 million.

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