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Work session following Monday’s council meeting planned to discuss school renovations

Posted on Friday, July 17, 2015 at 9:00 am

LYNCHBURG, Tenn. — There will be an open work session to discuss possible improvements to the Moore County High School and Middle School campus following Monday night’s regular monthly meeting of the Metropolitan Lynchburg Moore County Council.

The Council will meet in regular session on Monday, July 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the American Legion Building on county Route 129.

Along with the normal approval of minutes from the council’s June meetings, council members will hear a report from the budget committee. Also on the agenda is the discussion of an amendment to a Sewer System Resolution; the Tennessee Risk Management Resolution for Workers Comp Insurance for county government and board of education members; and two Notary Bond appointments.

The Council plans to look over and approve the equipment inventory list for the Highway Department as well.

Following the meeting, which shouldn’t be very long this month, is the planned work session to discuss pending improvements to the high school and middle school campus.

While the Moore County school board has been tossing around the idea of a major school renovation for more than a year, the Metro Council first heard from the school board in January. At that January Council meeting, the Tullahoma-based engineering firm of Oliver, Little and Gipson (OLG) gave a detailed presentation on proposed improvements at the Moore County High School campus.

At the time, the proposal included major upgrades within the school, including a new cafeteria and state-of-the-art security measures, as well as a new gymnasium and significant upgrades to the school’s football complex, which had been condemned. The improvements carried a $17.5 million price tag.

The football stadium issues have since been remedied, however, as new bleachers have been installed on the visitors’ side and the home side has been refurbished. It will be ready in time for the first home football game next month.

While the football stadium problems were quickly cured, the other changes and improvements have moved along at a snail’s pace. The Council’s Budget Committee, headed by Tommy Brown, said  it did not receive a direct request for the money for the school improvements from the school board or Director of Schools Chad Moorehead, only the suggestion of an approximate amount of money. Therefore it was not added to the upcoming budget.

During both the May and June council meeting, Councilman Denning Harder did make a request to amend the FY2015-16 Budget to include a 10 cent property increase with the funds earmarked specifically for school renovations, but his motion failed by nearly a two-thirds majority each time. According to Mayor Sloan Stewart it will take an approximate 50 cent tax increase to cover the cost the school board is suggesting.

Now, however, with the football stadium repaired and likely to remain as is for a number of years, that number could change.

In June, Brown suggested that once the FY2015-16 Budget was put to rest, there be a work session involving Council Members, the board of education, Moorehead and any concerned community members who would like to see improvements made at the county’s high school campus.

It has also been suggested — though not confirmed by any council member or school board member — that the improvements take place over a five-year span. Brown said he thought the meeting was needed so the Council could see exactly what the MCBoE had in mind and possibly hash out what the most needed elements of the proposed project were.

If a five-year plan were put in place, following the approval of the FY2016-17 budget, along with the sometimes lengthy bidding process, the plan likely would not be completed prior to the graduation of the Class of 2021.

More than 40 people turned out for the January meeting to hear the proposal from OLG, which was held at Moore County High School. The public is welcome at Monday’s work session as well.

—ROBERT HOLMAN, Publisher (mcnpub@lcs.net)

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