Earlier this month during the annual Board of Education retreat at Bays Mountain, Hawkins County Director of Schools Steve Starnes presented the panel with a list of projects that will likely be added to the proposed renovation plan.
The big ticket items include roofs, HVAC replacement, parking lot paving and security entrances at the older schools.
Starnes recalled that when the Phase 2 building project was approved in 2003 involving classroom additions at multiple schools, there was no need for a tax increase or additional funds because that occurred at the same time the bond for the two main high schools was retired.
Funds being used to pay off the high schools was shifted to the Phase 2 project loan.
Starnes said that would be the ideal route for dealing with the Phase 4 projects, which he described as “most pressing.”
The school debt nearest to being retired is a $7.7 million loan that will be paid off in 2019.
“Obviously we’ve tried to pay as we go,” Starnes said. “Again, talking with our funding body (county commission), talking with our financial consultant who works with all our bonds, if we can come in and do some projects without having to incur additional funding considerations, obviously that’s the way to go.
“It’s a cycle, continuing to upgrade and maintain when we can. Some of these projects won’t be able to wait. We’ll have to figure out a way to do that. The only two options are either to budget money during the budget cycle to do it or to go into our fund balance.”
It was after the BOE learned about this $12 million Phase 4 proposal, as well as the annual half-million dollars’ worth of capital outlay projects in the five year plan, that the idea of school consolidation was brought up by board member Chris Christian “for discussion purposes only.”
See the online version of this article at www.timesnews.net for a link to the school consolidation story.
As part of Phase 4, the two main high schools, Volunteer and Cherokee, will receive their first complete roof replacement since being constructed in 1980. The cost is estimated at $2 million each.
The bus shop would also get a new roof for $250,000.
Newer facilities such as Clinch School and Church Hill Intermediate were designed with secured entrances which require visitors to be “buzzed in” a second time to access student areas after being buzzed in to the main entrance.
While every school has a door buzzer system, the BOE has included securing all school entrances with that second layer of security in Phase 4 at a cost that was estimated five years ago at $1.4 million.
Parking lot paving
Improvements at Cherokee, Volunteer, Hawkins Elementary and Church Hill Elementary have been estimated at a combined $863,000.
Throw in $70,000 for Keplar, $55,000 for Mooresburg and $85,000 for Bulls Gap, and the total paving bill is estimated at $1.073 million.
Estimated at $2.968 million, most of the HVAC projects listed in Phase 4 are for Cherokee and Volunteer, including $650,000 and $600,000 respectively for new rooftop units and ductwork and $432,000 and $444,000 respectively for ground units.
HVAC at Joseph Rogers Primary would also be replaced for $842,500.
Other random Phase 4 projects
Church Hill Middle gym ceiling replacement, $375,000; Hawkins Elementary HVAC and window replacement, $466,000; energy management controls, $100,000; Keplar new kitchen floor, supports and concrete, $173,000; Keplar filter plant renovations, $200,000; electrical switchgear repairs at both main high schools, $300,000; and water and sewer line replacement at Mount Carmel, Carters Valley, Hawkins Elementary and Surgoinsville Middle, $700,000.
The history of Hawkins County Schools building projects
Phase 1, 2000-01: Classroom additions at Carters Valley and Hawkins Elementary. Joseph Rogers Primary was constructed.
Phase 2, 2003-04: Additions and renovations at Mount Carmel Elementary, Mooresburg Elementary, St. Clair Elementary, Surgoinsville Elementary and Church Hill Middle; renovations at old Clinch School; and the purchase of the current bus garage.
Phase 3, 2007-10: Additions and renovations at Bulls Gap School and Church Hill Elementary; new freshmen academies at Volunteer and Cherokee; new Clinch School; and new Church Hill Intermediate.
Five year capital outlay plan
The BOE additionally plans about $550,000 in routine maintenance projects each fiscal year, although this year’s plan slightly exceeded $1 million due to the addition of the Cherokee elevator project for $437,000.
Starnes told the BOE that elevator should be completed by the end of March or early April.
Other capital outlay projects scheduled for 2017-18 (not including architect, fire marshal and other fees) include: Surgoinsville Elementary bleacher replacement, $65,000; Church Hill Middle roof section 1, $155,000; Bulls Gap roof section E, $180,000; and Bulls Gap roof section C, $180,000.
Bids for the three roof projects were advertised with a March 2 deadline. Maintenance director Shannon Glass said the goal is for work on those projects to get underway as soon as summer vacation begins.
Some of the later five year plan projects overlap with Phase 4 and would be removed from this list if and when Phase 4 is approved.
2018-19: Cherokee/Volunteer tennis courts, $80,000; Cherokee/Volunteer door replacement, $40,000; Surgoinsville Middle bleachers, $125,000; Keplar new roof, $215,000; Pathways alternative foundation repairs, $30,000; and Volunteer press box repairs, $30,000.
2019-20: Mooresburg roof old section, $145,000; St. Clair roof old section, $72,000; Mount Carmel cooling tower and loop, $81,500; Clinch second well water filter system, $150,000; Mooresburg bleachers, $28,000; and Church Hill Elementary bleachers, $33,000.
2020-21: Church Hill Middle roof section 2, $175,000; Central Office secure entrance, $17,000; Hawkins Elementary bleachers, $49,000; Joseph Rogers Primary new cooling tower, $135,000; Rogersville Middle fire alarm replacement, $80,000.
2021-22: Church Hill Middle fire alarm replacement, $65,000; Mount Carmel water lines, $65,000; Surgoinsville Middle fire alarm replacement; Carters Valley water lines, $85,000; Keplar sewer treatment plant, $200,000; and pressure reducer and meter at Surgoinsville Middle, $22,000.
2022-23: Joseph Rogers Primary seal and stripe parking lot, $40,000; bus shop paving, $100,000; St. Clair fencing, $25,000; St. Clair bleachers, $45,000; McPheeters Bend bleachers, $45,000; and Volunteer/Cherokee switchgears, $300,000.