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Committees give thumbs up to school expansions

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Full county commission to review board's request next

Both the Education and Budget Committees of the Wilson County Commission have unanimously approved plans to improve, remodel and expand five Wilson County schools and rebuild the old Lebanon High School for new uses, County Finance Commissioner Aaron Maynard said this week.

Those plans will now go to be voted up or down by the full commission at its regular meeting on Monday night next week.

The plans call for:

  • Building a new gym at Southside Elementary and converting the two existing gyms into a band room, an auditorium, and two science labs;

  • A two-story addition to Tuckers Crossroads Elementary to expand its middle school area and add a circle drive around the property;

  • Renovation of the Mt. Juliet Middle School restrooms and theater;

  • Watertown Elementary would get an expanded gym and a new cafeteria, which would also connect the elementary with Watertown Middle School;

  • Gladeville Elementary would get six new classrooms and a new gym;

  • Renovation of the old Lebanon High School into board offices, an adult high school, space for conferences and training, textbook storage, a board meeting room and a director's office.

Director of Schools Dr. Donna Wright pointed out that this plan would allow the current Central Office on Stumpy Lane to be converted into space for a second MAP Academy, allowing middle school and high school students to have separate buildings.

New school postponed

The first year of the plan, which the Wilson County School Board initially approved in April, also called for the school system to purchase about 35 acres in north Mt. Juliet and start construction of an additional Mt. Juliet elementary school.

However, the Education and Budget Committees asked to have that held back a year. Maynard said the postponement would make it easier financially to build the new school as well as to do the renovations and expansions.

"The delay would mean we would have the bonding ability and the debt service money," Maynard explained. "Right now, we have $47 million in bonding capacity and the total would have been about $55 million."

Maynard also pointed out that the school board's construction funding request received unanimous support from both committees.

"Most of the time, that means it will pass the commission," he said.

Writer Connie Esh can be contacted at cewrites@yahoo.com.

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#WCEducation, Gladeville Elementary, Southside Elementary, Tuckers Crossroads, Watertown Elementary, West Wilson Middle School, Wilson County Commission, Wilson County Schools
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