Ethan Steinquest/Macon County Times Macon County School District employees review an initial design draft for a new elementary school at the Macon County Board of Education's meeting on March 28. Pictured (from left): board member Bryan Nichols, board chairperson Jeff Harper, Macon County Director of Schools Tony Boles, Cope Architecture Nashville Operations Manager John Cheney, Lafayette Elementary School principal Kristen Hix, Macon County Schools Maintenance Supervisor Randy Robinson.

Ethan Steinquest/Macon County Times

Macon County School District employees review an initial design draft for a new elementary school at the Macon County Board of Education's meeting on March 28.

Pictured (from left): board member Bryan Nichols, board chairperson Jeff Harper, Macon County Director of Schools Tony Boles, Cope Architecture Nashville Operations Manager John Cheney, Lafayette Elementary School principal Kristen Hix, Macon County Schools Maintenance Supervisor Randy Robinson.

The Macon County Board of Education reviewed the initial design draft for a new elementary school at its meeting on March 28.

Although details are subject to change, the current draft consolidates areas like the gym, library and lunchroom to the center of the building, with adjacent classroom hallways divided by grade level.

"This is really just kind of a first cut," John Cheney, Cope Architecture's Nashville operations manager, said. "It's something to throw darts at, so when we get everybody around a table, the administration and board members have something specifically concrete to look at."

The board also reviewed a design proposal for classroom additions to Macon County High School, Macon County Junior High School and Red Boiling Springs School.

"This is something that goes along with the new school," Macon County Director of Schools Tony Boles said, noting that a timeline for the project is pending. "We have to think about these kids that are coming into elementary school moving up into other grade levels. The funding method is to be determined, but it will be paid for by the board."

Board chairperson Jeff Harper estimated the total cost of the project at $48 million based on previous projects and input from Cheney.

Boles said that the board will need to look into budget amendments as it prepares start a payment plan and that available capital outlay funding is approximately $318,000.

"We're moving into design and development, and that's when we start asking a lot more questions of the user," Cheney said regarding potential cost. "We have a lot more interaction with faculty and staff in that phase, getting the meat on the sandwich if you will."

With the Macon County Commission preparing to fund a jail expansion, Boles said that he and Macon County Mayor Steve Jones have discussed the possibility of having bonds for both projects issued at the same time to reduce costs.

"The school and the jail will have to be separated," Boles said. "(Jones) would still like to have those bonds issued together. We should be able to get a better deal (that way)."

In addition, the board heard details on a geotechnical exploration proposal for the classroom additions.

"In common sense terms, it's insurance," Cheney said. "They'll go out there and do borings, all the properties where they plan to do the additions. They'll analyze the soil and service conditions, give the civil engineer (paving) recommendations. You can do the project without the geotechnical, but I wouldn't recommend it because it forces engineers to make assumptions."

The board placed the following items on the agenda to be voted on at its next regular session meeting, which is set for 6 p.m. on April 11 at Macon County High School.

Resurface MCJHS gym floor (bid amount at $31, 894)Request for donation to RBS football ($10,000 to sand the field, purchase a new sideline cover and reseal cracks by the field house)Proposal for site design at MCHS, MCJHS and RBSProposal for geotechnical exploration proposalGranting teacher tenure