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School board explores adding on to elementary schools at work session

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By SABRINA GARRETT
The Wilson Post

The Wilson County Board of Education spoke of expanding Southside, Carroll Oakland and Tuckers Crossroads Elementary School buildings at their Saturday work session. Director of Schools Mike Davis said that a presentation by Kaatz, Binkley, Jones, Morris (KBJM) Architects explored the possible cost of adding on to the three schools.

The board received some criticism from parents and teachers this past December when they announced their intentions to use the updated portions of the former Lebanon High School facility on Harding Drive for a new school as stated in the buildings 20-year plan. The board briefly considered the facility for a grades 6-8 school which would have pulled over 300 students from the three elementary schools to be relocated into the new middle school.

After two public hearings in which parents and teachers voiced their concerns over the state of the building, it was decided at the January board meeting to table the subject. Under Davis recommendation, Chairman Don Weathers proposed to defer any action until the board had time to determine the best use of the facility. The motion passed with a 3-2 vote with board members Wayne McNeese and Bill Robinson voting against it.

At the meeting, the board voted to pull $78,000 from the systems fund balance to lease three portable classroom buildings for Carroll Oakland, which has dealt with the most overcrowding issues. While the future of the Harding Drive facility is yet to be determined board members know that they must take some action to alleviate overcrowding in all of the elementary schools.

KJBM Architects presented three plans at the work session that could add new space and convert current space in the schools to maximize their core student capacity. Davis explained that the numbers were really rough, comparing the possible plan to a rough, first draft.

The plan they presented as a possibility for Carroll Oakland would add about 57,000 square feet for a core student capacity of 1,000 students, Davis said of the construction that would cost an estimated $9.9 million. The school currently has about 600 students.

Adding-on 28,000 square feet to TXR would cost $4.8 million and bringing Southside up to a core student capacity of 1,000 would cost $4.2. That is $20 million just in construction cost, Davis said.

No decisions were made at the meeting. Instead Davis said they are simply reviewing several scenarios.

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