Washington County BOE approves facilities master plan

Nathan Baker • Sep 6, 2013 at 9:44 AM

The Washington County Board of Education unanimously approved a $110 million facilities master plan Thursday evening that includes the building of two new schools to replace four aging facilities, new athletic and recreation sites and renovations district-wide over the next decade.

The two most expensive projects — replacing Boones Creek elementary and middle schools and Jonesborough elementary and middle schools — were also the most urgently needed, according to the firms hired by the school district to analyze Washington County’s educational trends.

The study conducted by Beeson, Lusk & Street Inc. said the two Boones Creek schools and Jonesborough Elementary are overcrowded and outdated.

Boones Creek Middle School in particular, which was originally built in 1939 as a high school, has several codes compliance and safety issues that would better be solved with a new facility, architect Tony Street told the board.

“This concept moves all Washington County elementary schools to a K-8 arrangement with adequate capacity through the year 2021, based on projected enrollment,” Street said.

According to the phasing schedule adopted by the board as part of the master plan, a new Boones Creek school takes top priority, with a target completion date of 2016. The Jonesborough school will follow, with a target date of 2018.

Before constructing a Boones Creek school, the district would first need to purchase suitable land somewhere in the north of he county to escape the expanding borders of Johnson City.

The school board has been working closely with architects and analysts to write the master plan for more than a year.

“I’d just like to say they’ve done an outstanding job for what we’ve asked them to do,” board member Phillip McLain said. “The attention to detail and to take our system and look out front, I just want to say thank you.”

Now that the Board of Education has approved the plan, school Director Ron Dykes will present it to the Johnson City Board of Education, and the city and county commissions, in a presentation tentatively scheduled for Sept. 26.

This is valuable information that all Washington Countians need to be well aware of,” Dykes said. “I applaud the board for taking this proactive stance of looking out in the future to this degree.”

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