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Johnson City Board of Education continues discussion about two middle school plan

Brandon Paykamian • Updated Mar 4, 2019 at 9:03 PM

At Monday’s Johnson City Board of Education monthly meeting, officials tracked the progress of capital projects and gave special recognition to students and staff, among other business.

Grading and site work is in progress for building seat and site infrastructure at the new Liberty Bell Middle School cafeteria and gym, a key component in creating two new middle schools for grades 5-8 out of Liberty Bell and Indian Trail Intermediate School by 2022.

City officials said they could provide $4 million from the city’s PEP fund to help move the project forward, but Board Member Jonathan Kinnick expressed concerns about uncertainty over funding and estimated cost increases for the project, originally projected to sit at around $9.4 million in October. 

Kinnick recommended taking a closer look to see “what we’re working with.”

After a lengthy discussion, board members eventually approved a motion to accept additional costs for the Liberty Bell project and move forward with Indian Trail Intermediate School storage, roofing, parking lot and science lab construction plans.

Architects, contractors and city staff have still been working through the value engineering of project costs at construction progress meetings, which have been occurring every two weeks.

The Liberty Bell construction project is still projected to be completed by April or May of 2020, but there were still questions about what type of design to use at Monday’s board meeting, as well. The board decided to approve an all-brick design that would reduce costs. 

In other business, special recognition was given to students such as Science Hill senior Jacob Cielo, who recently advanced as a finalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program for 2019, and Science Hill senior Chase Diehl, who won the 170-pound state wrestling title, capping a 63-0 season.

The board also recognized the following Teachers of the Year, who were rewarded for their work after last month’s board meeting.

• Elementary winners: Mandy Peterson, Cherokee; Rebekah Hughes, Fairmont; Cathy Botts, Lake Ridge; Whitney Pearson, Mountain View; Ashley Wolfe, North Side; Andrea Perry, South Side; and Christina Vines, Woodland.

• Middle-grade winners: Indian Trail Intermediate School teachers Robyn Ivester and Becky Fee, and Liberty Bell Middle School teachers Kelsey Walker, Stephanie Ledford and Jessica Adams.

• Science Hill High School winners: Josh Berry, Caroline Darden, Jeff Kleven, Jessica Schiwitz and Celia Street.

• District-level winners: Patricia Taylor, Towne Acres Elementary; Heidi Kane, Indian Trail; and Angela Taylor, Science Hill.

For more information on Johnson City Schools and other business at Monday’s board meeting, visit www.jcschools.org. 

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