The Macon County School Board discussed the new elementary school building project during a work session on held on Dec. 17 and reviewed its options ahead of its next work session on Jan. 9.

Donald E. Collins, senior project manager of TTL of Nashville, briefed the board on three possible building sites. He included possible pros and cons for each site.

The first possible site Collins presented was the Ellis property, located at 2115 Days Road.

Collins listed pros as the site being adjacent to Macon County High School and Macon County Junior High School, the parcel size (about 132 acres), the flat surface of portions of the site, the availability of dirt and rock on site in case the area has to be built up for drainage purposes, the availability to city utilities, the sufficient set back (depth) from the road.

However, he added that the length for that site might be an issue.

Collins said the cons to the site include two drainage ways that may cause difficulty in fitting the building on the property. Collins continued that Days Road is too narrow and it suffers from pavement cracking and subgrade issues. Finally, Collins said there could be access problems due to traffic from Macon County High School and Macon County Junior High School.

The second site Collins described was the combination of two pieces of property (one the Manion property and the other the Cothron property), located west of Days Road on Highway 52 East.

Collins listed the pros of the site as its location and size (45 acres), its grade that will drain water away from the buildings, the availability of city utilities, and that it is not in a flood zone.

Collins told the board that the cons included the parcel shape making it difficult to place the building, drives, and parking lots on the parcel. He said that there is limited useable building area depth, two streams run along the property lines, off-site drainage comes through the site, and that the site would not have separate access points for school buses and automobiles.

The third possible site that Collins related to the board was the Donoho property, located near the Macon County Industrial Park. The location of the property is located at the intersection of Sneed Boulevard and Galen Road.

"This is a site we like a lot," Collins said. "It has a lot of positive things about it."

Collins listed the pros of this property as parcel size (approximately 102 acres), building site dimensions (2,400 feet by 750 feet) the grade of the land, and rocks and soil for building up the land, if necessary. Collins said that other pros are access (separate access points for buses and cars), no off-site drainage issues, not being in a flood zone, and a good building setback on Sneed Boulevard. He also said that Sneed Boulevard is wide enough to handle school bus and passenger traffic, and that there is only the need to use the portion of the parcel in front of the onsite wetland/stream.

Collins outlined some cons to this property as well. There are two streams on site, and Sneed Boulevard requires some amount of reconstruction due to cracking and subgrade distress.

"The County currently has an option to purchase this (the Dohono) property," Macon County Director of Schools Tony Boles said. "It is in the third year of a five-year option to purchase it ... and the purchase price is $20,000 per acre. I talked to the (county) mayor (Steve Jones) about this. He said the Industrial Development Board had put money into it, and they wouldn't want a school that close to the Industrial Park."

Collins responded that they could do "landscaping and other things to separate the school from the Industrial Park."

Board member Jeff Harper motioned that the board talk to the county regarding the possibility of the county releasing its option on part or all of the Donoho property. The board agreed to the motion.

Collins told the board members that regardless of which site they choose, surveys, concept plans, and geotechnical explorations were necessary and that several state and city permits were required.

"The city of Lafayette would have to annex part or all of any chosen property for the building to receive city utilities and fire protection," Collins said.

Finally, Collins suggested a goal of $5 million for a site-development budget regardless of which site is chosen.

The board will hold its next work meeting on Jan. 9 at 6 p.m. and will conduct its next regular meeting at 6 p.m. on Jan. 16.