Ethan Steinquest/Macon County Times Macon County Director of Schools Tony Boles (at left) and Don Collins of TTL, Inc. detail floor plans for a new elementary school at the Macon County Board of Education's work session held Sept. 5.

Ethan Steinquest/Macon County Times

Macon County Director of Schools Tony Boles (at left) and Don Collins of TTL, Inc. detail floor plans for a new elementary school at the Macon County Board of Education's work session held Sept. 5.

The Macon County Board of Education discussed a timeline for building additions at Red Boiling Springs School, a project estimated to cost $2.9 million, at its work session held last Thursday evening.

According to Haley McManigal of Cope Architecture, the board should be able to open bids on Nov. 5 and could begin demolition of existing buildings that overlap with the addition site by Jan. 1, 2020. The build itself is projected to take 12 months.

"We're going to have to work out (where children who use those buildings will go) with (RBS High School Principal Don) Jones and (RBS Elementary Principal Michael) Owens," Macon County Director of Schools Tony Boles said. "Mr. Jones is occupying a classroom there. We may have to see where we can move that around and then move Mr. Owens' pre-K kids inside the building."

The RBS addition project is geared toward addressing county growth rates and is primarily focused on adding more parking space and classrooms. It will also see an administrative suite added to the school.

"Currently, we've budgeted $2 million in capital outlay," Boles said, addressing potential funding for the build. "We have right now available in building improvements and other capital outlay, architects aside ... (approximately $1.4 million)."

Boles said if the board moved to pay $1.25 million on the project and finance $2 million, it could pay off the additions in seven years with annual payments at approximately $324,000 or 10 years at approximately $237,000 (a difference of approximately $106,000 over three years).

"We won't have to make a true decision until we've had time to talk with (the Macon County Commission) on this new school," board chair Jeff Harper said, referring to the commission's decision to schedule regular meetings with the board to discuss school project funding. "We can go ahead and open the bids and do everything for the school, and depending on what we run into on the new school ... I still feel like we can do this right here regardless. Something's got to be done."

The board is set to begin meeting with the commission at 5:30 on Monday and will continue to do so on a monthly basis. Although the primary topic of discussion will be funding for the new elementary school, those decisions will impact how much the board can contribute to its school addition projects (also planned for Macon County High School and Macon County Junior High School, in addition to RBS).

"From the (commissioners) I've talked to, the feeling I get is they'll contribute at least half of the remaining payment (on the new school)," Boles said (the sales tax increase approved in November 2018 is earmarked to cover a majority of the cost). "We don't know what the half will be, because we're right now projected at $925,000 to raise annually with the sales tax ... (but) we've got $448,000 in it right now over a six-month period, and we've not had big months yet."

The board also discussed the latest floor and site plans for the new elementary school developed by TTL, Inc.

"It's built for 1,400 (students)," Boles said. "There's a gymnasium in the front, cafeteria, service entrance all in the back ... two seperate playground areas, one for second and third grade and one for fourth and fifth."

In addition, the board discussed stopping payments to AdvancED, a non-profit organization that accredits primary and secondary schools.

"They go through and measure different areas for accountability," Boles said. "Over the last five years, we have paid AdvancED $42,500. What have we gotten out of that? A banner, a frame and a plaque in my office."

Boles noted that several school directors in the Upper Cumberland have recently dropped the program and said he sees no advantage in keeping it.

"White County's director said they sold this as ... when people move into your community, they'll want to settle there because your schools are accredited," Boles said. "We're getting them here whether our school's accredited or not. People (don't) ask if the school system is accredited. It's not required, and that's $11,000 we can save right there."

The board discussed the following items at its work session:

School building projects (new elementary school and Red Boiling Springs School additions)

Speech-Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA) position

Ice cream price increase

AdvancED

Charles E. Windel Scholarship

Macon County High School early graduates

Purchasing school buses

Meeting with Macon County Commission

County census

Revise Policy Nos. 3.500, 1.903, 1.901, 5.200 and 5.201

School budget