Ethan Steinquest/Macon County Times Macon County Board of Education chair Jeff Harper (left) and Macon County Director of Schools Tony Boles (right) discuss updated plans for a new elementary school with Cope Architecture representative Haley McManigal.

Ethan Steinquest/Macon County Times

Macon County Board of Education chair Jeff Harper (left) and Macon County Director of Schools Tony Boles (right) discuss updated plans for a new elementary school with Cope Architecture representative Haley McManigal.

The Macon County Board of Education received updates on the upcoming elementary school during its work session held last Thursday after feedback on an initial design draft saw the project add approximately 12,000 square feet.

"(This estimate) is very rough, but based on that enlargement, we're looking at $31,692,600," Cope Architecture representative Haley McManigal said. "We estimate that at $200 per square foot. We're in early schematic design qright now, and typically, the full design process takes about 10 months."

Additions to the initial design draft were made following input from the county principals. The goal is for the building to accommodate 1,400 students and manage population growth.

"The biggest thing ... was enlarging each classroom just a little bit so that each one was 900 square feet," McManigal said. "Another big change was reorienting what was storage into a combined workroom and storage area. That was the bulk of the enlargement on the floor plan."

Other changes to the plan saw classrooms reconfigured so each side of the building would have the same number, combining the art and music classrooms and moving machinery to save floor space.

The core design of the building currently sees areas like the gym, library and lunchroom consolidated in the center, with adjacent classroom hallways divided by grade level.

"Everything I've looked at plan-wise, the way this school is laid out has a whole lot more potential for add-on and growth than something like the junior high," board chair Jeff Harper said of the site, which is located on Days Road (near Macon County High School). "(But) we're kind of limited front and back ... you've got natural drain issues there and everything. You're limited on one end just because of the property line, and there won't be room on the front side, so you'll have to go toward the back."

The board is also working with Cope Architecture on additions to Macon County High School, Macon County Junior High School and Red Boiling Springs School to address growth, but some of those projects may be postponed in order to fund the elementary school.

"I think we need to know what (the Macon County Commission's) mindset is on payment, because that's going to determine what (the board) can do for these additions," Macon County Director of Schools Tony Boles said. "(The new school) is the first priority."

The school addition projects are focused on adding parking space and classrooms, along with a weight training room at Macon County High School and an administrative suite at Red Boiling Springs School.

Their cost estimates have been placed at $10 million (MCHS), $9.1 million (MCHJS) and $2.9 million (RBS).

"Red Boiling, right now, is the only one we're going to be able to fund and do," Harper said. "Those other two projects are going to have to wait. We don't even know if we're going to get full funding for the school."

Harper recommended approving an initial $4,800 payment for utility scanning at Red Boiling Springs, which would detect sub-surface hazards that could interfere with construction, and adding on the other schools depending on fund allocation for the new elementary.

The board also discussed adopting a policy that would allow students to take online courses through institutions such as Volunteer State Community College as alternative credits with board approval.

"Kids are going to be able to take their core academics, but it's your Biology II, or Chemistry II, Physics II, something that we didn't teach, if you know those aren't offered that you can go ahead and sign up and get the process rolling," Boles said.

Boles said that students would be able to complete that coursework during study hall to acccount for adult supervision.

"This needs to be in place for the seniors this year," board member Rebekah Tuttle said. "If we're going to make board approved every single course ... they can't do it in the fall because they don't have time to be approved, but I don't want to put this off a year. If it's not going to done by (next meeting), I understand putting it to July, but I'd like to see us push through on this."

The board of education's next meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on June 13 at the Macon County Schools' central office.

The board discussed the following items during its work session:

Update on building projectsUtility scanning proposalSchool nutrition budgetCareer counselor positionFuel bids for the 2019-20 school yearWestside Elementary School gym floor bidMacon County Junior High School gym floor refinishingGeneral purpose budget amendment No. 4School resource officer contract for the 2019-20 school yearTeacher salary increaseMacon County Board of Education policy No. 4.209 -- alternative credit options