According to the report, grades K-1 at Fairlane have approximately 372 students. Second and third grade at Central Elementary School have 384 students. Commissioner Jerry Ray stated in last month,s meeting that he would like to know whether all classrooms are in use.
Rich and Carter both agreed that all rooms, including several closets, are being used for teachers' aides' work stations. At Central the teachers' aides must work in the hall which is a fire code violation.
Director of Schools Mike Prock stated that more and more students are moving in and the schools are just not large enough to accommodate the students.
The first item on the Macon County Board of Education project list is a new school for grades 3, 4, and 5. The new school would be built near the Macon County High School and is estimated to cost $8,687,720. It would be 88,000 square feet and accommodate 800 students. This would leave Lafayette Elementary School empty. The second item on the list is to renovate LES into the Board of Education central office and build a school bus garage. To renovate the building is estimated to cost $600,000 and the school bus garage is estimated at $100,000.
The 4th item on the list is a vocational building for high school students. According to Director of Schools, Mike Prock, this consists of several new rooms added to the current high school. This estimated cost is $200,000.
The 5th and 6th item on the list is to upgrade the sporting facilities in Macon County. This would include a new football stadium for a total cost of $535,000. The 7th is to build a new gym for Red Boiling Springs. The estimated cost for the gym was not given.
After building the new school, the plans would be to use Fairlane and Central for grades K-2. This will require the Board of Education to zone the students to one of the schools.
The LES office will also be used for college classes and the gym and cafeteria for the senior citizens of Macon County. The property at the Central Office could be sold at auction.
The completion date is estimated for 2007 with students to begin fall session in the new school.
Commissioner Mike East made a motion that a new school not be built until the existing high school is paid for. He stated that the county needs to add more rooms on to the existing school structures. According to Prock the school area at LES and Fairlane is almost covering the land owned by the Board of Education. At Fairlane the remaining land would be unsuitable for building. At LES the only other place to build is in the parking lot which cuts into the parking area for teachers and football games.
Commissioner Melburn Cothron had this to say, "I'm not going to commit to anything tonight. The people are going to want to know where the money is coming from before they speak their minds." This comment was made after County Executive Donoho wanted the commissioners to voice their opinion on the school at the meeting.
Commissioner Carter made a motion to proceed with the funding and have financial questions answered before they take a final vote. The commissioners moved to do so.
County Trustee Donnie Morgan spoke to the commissioner concerning pipeline assessments and taxes for 1997-2002. According to Morgan, following the decision of the Tennessee courts in the ANR Pipeline case, the county will be responsible for paying money back to Columbia Gulf and Texas Eastern Transmission. A total of $73,398.52. Morgan said their is no alternative. The county must pay. The commissioners agreed to allow Morgan to look into reducing their tax bill every year by a certain amount until the bill is taken care of. This is another hard hit to the counties budget according to Executive Donoho.
The next scheduled meeting of the full body is scheduled for Monday, February 2, at 6 p.m.