School Board, County Commission Discuss School Facilities

Reported by: Webb Wright
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Updated: 2/27 11:43 pm
        After reviewing the school board's facilities wish list, the County Commission said the money simply isn't there for everything.
        "It is safe to say all six of those projects will not get done at this time," said Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger.
        "We know that the dollar figure for all six projects is a high dollar figure," added Hamilton County School Superintendent Rick Smith.
        The projects are:
 
        A new Ganns Middle Valley Elementary that would combine to house Falling Creek Elementary students.
        An addition to Wolftever Elementary.
        A new school for CSLA as they expand from K to 8 to a K to 12 program.
        An addition to Nolan Elementary
        An addition to Sale Creek Middle-High School that would eliminate portable classrooms,
        And a new East Hamilton Middle School.

        Now the board and the commission will have to decide which projects to fund.
        "I think what we've got to do is we've got to look at each individual project, I think that's what we will spend some time doing. You've got to look at the costs of a project and then what availible funds are there," said Smith
       "Our responsibility to build the schools is to determine how much funding is availible to fund those projects, and which projects we can fund," added Coppinger.
       A new school for CSLA will cost 45 million dollars, which would be slightly more expensive than a new East Hamilton Middle School. That leaves CSLA parents concerned that their school may be left out of the process.
       "Our kids go to school with mold, cracks in the walls, a lot of kids are developing asthma, and that shouldn't be the state of our buildings here in Hamilton County," said CSLA parent Sarah Quattrochi.
       "You are talking several million dollars difference when you start talking an East Hamilton Middle, a CSLA, a K-12 versus the other, so it's something I think we'll have to look at," added Smith.
       In the end, the Hamilton County Commission will make the final decision on how to fund the projects.
       "I will be talking to commissioners individually and I will see what the needs of the Superintendent Smith and what his preferred projects are," said Coppinger.
      "We've been on the list since 1999. along with Ganns Middle Valley and Sale Creek Middle School so of course we are all concerned that we are not going to make the list and it is still going to take years to get the new building," added Quattrochi.
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