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School Board postpones decision to January
PBA offers four scenarios, menu of items as possible cost-cutting measures to trim the $50 million projected building cost


No lockers or football field was one of four scenarios Knox County Board of Education members entertained as a solution to eliminate the projected $10 million cost overrun the new Northwest Sector high school had generated at a called meeting of the Board Monday, Dec. 19.

After a lengthy discussion and a brief recess, the Board decided to postpone voting on which direction to take on the high school project to be built on Hardin Valley Road.

Jeff Galyon, senior project manager for the Public Building Authority project, told the Board that the current projected estimate for the school was $50 million.

Among the “menu” items Galyon proposed to eliminate in varying combinations were to finance a geothermal system, eliminate athletics, eliminate FF&E except for communications infrastructure, eliminate classroom pod, reduce FF&E, eliminate career tech and eliminate 16 classrooms.

Galyon described the first scenario as a combination of financing a geothermal system, eliminate athletics and eliminating FF&E except for communications infrastructure, which would support a student capacity of 2,100.

The second scenario included financing geothermal system and eliminating a classroom pod, which would support a student capacity of 1,300.

The third included eliminating athletics, eliminating a classroom pod and reducing FF&E, which also would support a student capacity of 1,300.

The fourth and final scenario included financing a geothermal system, eliminate athletics, eliminating career tech and 16 classrooms, which would support a student capacity of 1,600.

Each of the four aforementioned scenarios would result in a savings of $10 million, Galyon said.

Board member Robert Bratton said, “I will never vote for a school that has no lockers or football field.”

Charles “Chuck” James (District 6) said, “I’ve never heard of a school without lockers, that about floored me.”

James added that he agreed with Board member Sam Anderson who wanted to know where children would store their coats if they had no lockers?

Board member Indya Kincannon added that the county had enough high schools to handle the overcrowding in the West Sector if a redistricting plan could be put in place.

Board chairman Dr. Dan Murphy said that he didn’t know where the Board is going to come up with the $6.5 million needed to maintain and staff the school once it was built.

James said the postponement of the vote “would not hurt us. We can postpone for two weeks and still come out with a quality school.”

 

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