Johnson City officials to consider Indian Trail school expansion project

Gary B. Gray • Oct 4, 2012 at 10:28 AM

The City Commission will consider a $1.4 million contract tonight with Kingsport’s Travis Chatman Construction to add two wings and a total of eight new classrooms at Indian Trail Intermediate School.

Expansion at the school has been at or near the top of the Johnson City Board of Education’s priority list for years, but it has been an item that’s had to wait until construction and renovations on the Science Hill campus finished up so the remainder of Washington County school bond funds could be calculated.

“Originally, the city wanted to use money from these funds,” said Dave Chupa, Johnson City Schools’ instruction and facilities supervisor said Wednesday. “But the city refinanced the PEP (Peoples Education Plan). That’s the money that helped build Woodland, South Side and Lake Ridge elementary schools.”

Money for these projects came from the last local sales tax increase by the city — a quarter-cent hike in 1994. The city now will have $2 million with which to construct the classrooms and pay for new roofs at Woodland and South Side — the next items on the board’s priority list.

“It’s been on the table for a long time,” Board of Education Chairwoman Kathy Hall said about plans to expand Indian Trail.

The 800-square-foot classrooms will be constructed as two, two-story structures with four classrooms on each floor.

About one year ago, architect Tony Street introduced the first visual offerings of what would have been a roughly $2 million expansion and renovation at Indian Trail — a plan that at that time included a cafeteria expansion but had no identifiable funding source.

Plans to expand the cafeteria, which already seats 250 during three separate lunch breaks, will be put on hold for now.

“We’ve decided we can reconfigure the tables,” Chupa said. “We’ll be changing the tables from round to a more traditional rectangular shape to accommodate students.

The City Commission also will consider implementation of the Tennessee Targeted Crime Reduction Project, an intervention program designed to reduce drug-related and violent crime.

The strategic data-driven $45,000 planning process would be funded through the state’s Office of Criminal Justice Programs. Full funding of the overall project is $800,000 over the two-year implementation period.

Chief Mark Sirois told City Manager Pete Peterson that the OCJP approached the city through the Johnson City Police Department and that implementation would make the city the seventh in Tennessee to put the program in place.

“The TCCRP supports a comprehensive, evidence-based strategy incorporating many partners and addressing the underlying causes of chronic crime concerns,” he said. “As it is evidence based, the program is designed to provide our city with tools to strategically address issues in the long term and coordinate and apply local resources to impact crime in specific neighborhoods and hot spots.”

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