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BOE approves funds for secure entrance at South

May 7th, 2014 9:38 pm by Rick Wagner

BOE approves funds for secure entrance at South

BLOUNTVILLE — Sullivan South High School will soon have a more secure permanent entrance similar to Sullivan County's other three high schools, albeit at more than double the original cost estimate.

The Board of Education split 5-2 Monday night in approving a budget amendment shifting $140,000 in public address system funding for Holston Elementary and Middle to the South High secure entrance and office renovation, which grew from the $130,000 set aside in the renovation budget to $270,000.

Sullivan County Director of Schools Jubal Yennie and Maintenance Supervisor Joe Davenport said the project simply wasn't fully fleshed out when the renovation budget for 2013-14 was put together, but Yennie also said the lowest of two bids simply came back more expensive than officials thought.

Finance Director Leslie Bonner said about $20,000 of the amount is for architectural fees.

Davenport said the project became more extensive with reconfiguration of office space. However, the secure entrance segment of the plan will give South a second entrance after the main one, which is similar to what North Middle School and Ketron Elementary have.

"We tried to keep it smaller scale and it grew on us," Davenport said of the project, which replaces an awkward makeshift entrance that sends visitors to South during the school day through a side door and hallways of the school's guidance and other offices.

BOE members Randall Jones and Todd Broughton voted against the budget amendment, while Chairman Dan Wells, Vice Chairman Jerry Greene and members Betty Combs, Jerry Greene and Robyn Ivester voted for the transfer.

Yennie and Davenport said the Holston project would be delayed until the 2014-15 school budget.

Davenport said the PA project for Holston, which has been on the five-year plan for three years and was talked about seriously the past two years, is ready to bid out.

He said the project would have to be done over the summer vacation since it would involve taking out the existing PA system before putting in the new one.

Schools locally and nationwide have upgraded security in light of school shootings. In 2010, authorities killed an armed man at Sullivan Central.

Broughton suggested school system officials check and see if any federal Safe Schools grant funds may be available for the security camera portion of the South project. Bonner and Davenport said they would explore that possibility.

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