JONESBORO — The Clayton County school system has purchased the former Sears building at Southlake Mall.

The $4.4 million, 15-acre property will serve as a convention center and arena. A $50-million renovation project will turn the space into a 7,000-seat arena.

“I am truly looking forward to honoring our graduating seniors indoors at a facility in Clayton County with sufficient seating and parking to support everyone who wishes to attend,” said Jessie Goree, Clayton County Board of Education chair.

Superintendent Morcease Beasley said the discussion of the purchase began several years ago.

“This arena will allow us to celebrate our seniors with indoor graduation ceremonies in this county. The total facility will also be available for other community and regional events,” he said.

The district will use $40 million in Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax VI monies to pay for the project. The county is expected to pay $10 million. The board is expected to see the first concept designs in January 2022 followed by a completed design in July 2022.

The purchase was approved by the Board of Education on Aug. 30.

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