County’s education committee approves funding for new school, expansions, improvements


County’s education committee approves funding for new school, expansions, improvements

PHOTO: Among the resolutions approved by the Williamson County Board of Commissioners’ education committee Monday night was nearly $1.8 million for the purchase of nine new school buses for WCS. / File photo

By JOHN McBRYDE

From a new HVAC system at Scales Elementary School to the construction of another new school in the Williamson County Schools district, members of the Board of Commissioners’ education committee unanimously approved a laundry list of resolutions presented at its January meeting Monday.

All eight resolutions voted on will go for approval at the next county commission meeting, scheduled for Monday, Feb. 11.

Topping the list, financially speaking, is a request for just over $32 million to begin phase 2 of a master plan for Page Middle and High schools. Page Middle is already over-capacity, and WCS seeks $9.55 for construction to help address that need. The district is also requesting $22.8 for expansion and updates on Page High School.

Both schools have gone through phase 1 of their master plans.

“Phase 2 would ultimately allow us to increase capacity at Page High school to 2,000 students and Page Middle to 1,500 students,” WCS Superintendent Mike Looney said.

He said the need is two-fold.

“One,” he explained, “it gives us capacity for the needs we know are coming, which will delay the need for another high school in that general area — not permanently, but for a number of years. In addition, as you know, the Page schools are some of the older schools in the district, and they need these renovations desperately.”

Another resolution sought the intent to fund up to $25 million for design and construction of a new middle school that would stand on 35 acres of property on Hen Peck Lane the county purchased some years ago. The delay on the building of that school, which would be adjacent to and serve as a feeder from Oak View Elementary, has had largely to do with the area’s need for a sewer system.

WCS partnered with the city of Franklin on funding for the sewer line that would serve both the new school and Oak View.

“The timing of the construction of the school would be in conjunction with the implementation of the sewer,” Looney said, “and this would allow us to have a new school in the 2020-21 school year.”

Commissioners also approved funding of $3.5 million for the replacement of the HVAC system at Scales Elementary and nearly $1.8 million for the purchase of nine new school buses, the latter of which would come from a fund balance.

Commissioners present were Robbie Beal (chair), 10th District, Judy Herbert, 2nd District, Chad Story, 4th District, Erin Nations, 6th District, Tom Tunnicliffe, 7th District, and Brian Beathard, 11th District.

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