County schools present capital outlay plan to commissioners

Xavier Smith • Apr 5, 2018 at 8:28 PM

Wilson County Schools leaders discussed the district’s capital outlay plan for renovations and construction Thursday during a joint work session with the education and budget committees.
The comprehensive plan examined all buildings owned by Wilson County Schools and highlighted needed improvements over the next one to 10 years, with some projects listed as critical.

Mickey Hall detailed items in the plan during Thursday’s work session, noting the plan could be considered a five to six year plan based on the preferred timing of certain projects and growth in the district.

The plan addresses needs at majority of Wilson County schools, transportation department, MAP Academy, central office and future schools.

Plans for heating, ventilation and air conditioning improvements were listed for majority of the schools. Some listed school improvements included upgrades to athletic facilities, rooftops, doors and more.

The plan would cost around $780 million if fully funded as presented Thursday night.

The Wilson County Schools design team determined the preliminary estimated costs of projects, which fell into categories based on importance, with two projects – new high school in Mt. Juliet and Wilson Central High School HVAC renovation – listed as critical.

The Wilson County Commission approved $1.55 million last year for Wilson County Schools to conduct design services for the potential new high school in Mt. Juliet. The design authorization does not signify the groups’ commitment to spend $110 million for a new high school, which is the estimated cost.

The HVAC renovation project at Wilson Central is estimated to cost $7.5 million.

Two of the more distinct projects include Watertown Middle School and Lakeview Elementary School.

Hall noted parts of Watertown Middle School still in use were built in 1937.

Hall said the major renovation plan for the school would address accessibility and safety.

“We don’t have an elevator where you can get people from one floor to all floors. If you’re in a wheelchair, you can get to two. You can’t get to three, and you really can’t get to the bottom of the hill in an ADA compliant situation,” Hall said.

The district would remove the school’s current theatre and classrooms under the theatre and insert a new, bigger theatre and classrooms, as well as an entrance outside the area to allow students elevator access to all floors.

The renovation would also add a new library.

Hall said Lakeview has had one renovation in 25 years and the plans call for a renovation to ease accessibility outside and within the school building.

The renovation would renovate the school’s kitchen and add a hallway behind the school’s gym for easier access through the school. The district will also look to purchase one or two pieces of adjoining property and build a loop road around the back of the school to alleviate traffic concerns.

Hall also discussed the need for a special needs facility for the district.

“We have over 3,000 kids with some form of special needs. It could just be speech. It could be severe. It could be in one of the big wheelchairs, ventilator and everything else. We really think, from a behavioral standpoint, we need a special needs facility,” said Hall, who said districts across the country have created a similar facility.

“We have a lot of situations that this facility could help these kids figure out what’s going on and get them back in the classroom. It would almost be like a hospital,” he said.

The plan also includes the district’s desired digital conversion plan and funding for the new high school in Mt. Juliet.

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