Hamilton County Schools Target Six For Facilities Upgrade

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Updated: 2/21/2014 9:47 am
      The Hamilton Board of Education voted 8-1 to approve six new construction projects at area schools.
      "There's several schools out there that need improvement. We owe it to our children to give them the best possible learning environment," said Ganns' parent Lovitt.
      "My sense of this evening's session was that our board knows that all of those projects are justified," added Rick Smith, Hamilton County School Superintendent.
      The board wants to build a new Ganns Middle Valley Elementary school and combine Ganns with Falling Creek Elementary. They also hope to build an addition to Wolftever Elementary to accomdate 250 additional students, build a new CSLA school and expand it from grades K-8 to Grades K-12, add an addition to Nolan Elementary, expand Sale Creek Middle-High School and get rid of portable classrooms, and build an East Hamilton Middle School.
       "I think the three oldest, the three that were on the original 1999 list, Sale Creek, Ganns, and CSLA, not necessarily in that order, would be the biggest benefit," said CSLA parent Jason Kilgore.
       Even though the board voted not to prioritize the schools, this was how their list was presented before the vote, with a price tag close to 150 million dollars. The County Commission will have to step in and provide funds.
      "I'm sure that the commission will fully understand the need. Then you get into the discussion of how you would fund it, then you get into a timeline," said Smith.
      But with such a heavy cost attached, not every project may get funded.
      "Unless the board, the commission, comes up with 146 million, the facilities committee is going to have to prioritize. They are going to have to pick a number one, a number two," said Kilgore.
      "I think the next step now is to go to the commission, see if they concur with that, then move forward on how to prioritize that," added Smith.
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