Director of Schools Evelyn Rafalowski told the Board of Education at its regular Monday meeting that construction bids on Sullivan East Middle School on Weaver Pike will be due Feb. 14, following a site visit by interested contractors on Feb. 1. Site preparation is already underway there.
Meanwhile, the low site preparation bid for the new high school near Lynn Road, off Exit 63 of Interstate 81, came in lower than expected at just less than $1.7 million, compared to other bids in the $2.7 million to $5.7 million range. The winner was Morristown-based East Tennessee Turf & Landscape.
WHAT’S NEXT ON BOTH NEW SCHOOLS?
The board will meet in called session at 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 22 to go over the construction bids for the high school and tie up some loose ends on the middle school project.
Rafalowski said that later in February three names, mascots and sets of colors will be presented in an online survey, with the results coming in time for the board to vote on those three items at its regular March 5 meeting after a March 1 work session. She said the delay is in waiting for some artist renderings.
Board Chairman Michael Hughes said a formal high school groundbreaking likely will come in March or April when warmer weather will allow for more outdoor activities like at the fall groundbreaking of the middle school, even if some grading work is already underway at the high school site by then. The high school is to open by the fall of 2020, the middle school by the fall of 2019.
STUDENTS BOARD MEMBERS FOR AN EVENING
The seven board members were shadowed Monday night by seven fifth-graders, who sat with the board members throughout the meeting. From Central Heights Elementary were Stephanie Starnes, assigned to member Mark Ireson; and Caleb Greene, assigned to Vice Chairman Randall Jones. From Blountville Elementary were Eduardo Kinil, assigned to Chairman Michael Hughes; Jaycee Barett, assigned to Jerry Greene; Laiklyn Meade, assigned to Matthew Spivey; and Aidan Key, assigned to Dan Wells.
In honor of Tennessee School Board Appreciation Week last month, the board members received gifts from Sullivan County career technical education programs, while the student board members got goody bags from Rafalowski.
The board also recognized the Mary Hughes girls volleyball East Sectional champions, which finished the season 38-2; All State East and All State band students from the four high schools; and South High School’s Air Force Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps Cadet Colt Nichols for winning one of 120 spots in a new program in which he is to earn his private pilot’s license at Air Force expense this summer.