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Nathan Baker

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County begins school-construction budgeting

March 7th, 2014 9:45 am by Nathan Baker

County begins school-construction budgeting

Phase one of a multi-step master plan to update and enlarge Washington County’s schools will soon begin its course through the County Commission.

On Thursday, the Washington County Board of Education authorized Superintendent Ron Dykes to approach the County Commission’s Budget Committee in April to request funding to build a new K-8 school to replace the aging and undersized Boones Creek Middle and Elementary schools.

Replacing the facilities was the first priority identified by architectural firm Beeson, Lusk & Street Inc., hired by the district to produce a master plan.

That same firm projected the cost of the 1,100-student school at $35-40 million.

Those figures include selecting and purchasing land on the north end of the county, near the highest concentration of students in the Boones Creek area, preparing the site and constructing the new school.

“We should have done this a long time ago,” Board of Education Facilities Committee Chairman Clarence Mabe said. “We don’t want to be like Sullivan North, where they’re completely surrounded by the city.”

In September, shortly after the school board approved the master plan, the members called a meeting with members of the Johnson City Board of Education and the city and county commissions to lay out the plan and discuss their fears regarding the city’s future annexation plans.

Each of the boards heralded the meeting as a positive sign of cooperation between the government entities.
Dykes said Thursday night that he would again lay out the first portion of the plan for the county committee and begin the process of securing funding for it.

“There are a lot of variables involved with this project, the first of which is the selection of the site, which could affect the future design of any facility we’re planning,” the supervisor said. “How realistic our timeline is really depends upon the funding associated with the next 10 years.”

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