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Kitzmiller: New school can be ready by fall 2008

CHRISTAN M. THOMAS • May 3, 2007 at 11:48 AM

KINGSPORT - Despite reports to the contrary, Kingsport School Superintendent Richard Kitzmiller says the new elementary school to be built in the Rock Springs community will be completed by fall 2008.

"Rick Russell (project consultant) and I met with the architects, and feel much more confident now that we've seen the revised timeline and have gotten some additional information from some major construction companies - the type of which could bid on the project," Kitzmiller said. "We think that, indeed, we are on track for the school to be open in July (2008) or so, so we'd have a little time to move into it. … It is quite possible to still make the timetable and still make the budget, but we'll know much more about that next week."

At the Kingsport Board of Education's regular monthly meeting, Thursday, Kitzmiller presented a summary of the timeline for the school's construction, including decision-making on the proposed geothermal system.

According to the timeline, architects from Barge, Waggoner, Sumner and Cannon will receive the report on test borings from the site within the next week. The BOE will then hold a special called meeting May 10 to hear an official report and review various aspects of using a geothermal system versus a traditional HVAC unit including cost, payback period, impact on schedule, value and architects' recommendation.

Those finding and approvals could then be presented to the Kingsport Board of Mayor Alderman on May 14. Based on their decision, engineering for the selected system will be completed.

As for the overall timeline, some elements will be completed in a parallel time frame to make up for the extra time added in the geothermal decision-making process. Due to this delay, Kitzmiller expects to send school plans to the state fire marshal for review and approval at the end of May - approximately five weeks behind schedule.

The approximately 90,000-square-foot elementary school will be located off Rock Springs Road in "The Edinburgh," a planned housing development.

In other business, the BOE took up an issue that had been tabled earlier in the year. The BOE voted to approve a partnership agreement with Embarq - pending approval of the contract from the city attorney. Under the proposed agreement, Embarq would provide CCC! Video On Demand software for Kingsport schools in exchange for various signage and other materials placed in schools and at special events.

Under the new scaled-down agreement, Kingsport City Schools will maintain "educational signage" featuring the Embarq logos in 10 schools with two in each school. The system will also provide employees with regular e-mails and a Web page highlighting tips and ideas for using the software. The partnership will also be promoted on the system's Web site, radio programs and stadium marquee.

According to the contract, total value of media services would be $92,225. Either party can terminate the contract prior to August 1, 2007, based on "internal budgeting limitations or the inability to reach agreement with Embarq on placement or execution of the sponsorship assets."

In order to accommodate and fully utilize the software's capabilities, KCS had indicated the need to install fiber-optic connectivity in all schools. That project is currently included in the 2007-2008 budget.

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