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City Council tours school system

Elizabethton City Schools’ Board of Education members and school administration welcomed City Councilmen Friday morning for an annual walkthrough of schools as budget time gets underway for the City of Elizabethton. The tour was used as a way to help the system develop their five-year capital improvements plan.
“Anytime we get a chance to look at the needs and improvements at the schools is always important,” Director of Schools Dr. Corey Gardenhour said. “We appreciate the councilmen for taking time out of their busy schedules to try to help us with the vision we’re trying to accomplish for our students and the community.”
Starting from the Central Office, officials took tours of Harold McCormick Elementary, T.A. Dugger Junior High, and Elizabethton High School and concluded the different with lunch and an information session from the director of schools.
“It was a very informative experience,” Elizabethton Mayor Pro-Tem Bill Carter said. “It’s great for the school board and the school administration to do this. This is just good communication that helps everybody along this process. The dollars are precious, but this is certainly an area we can look into.”
Throughout the morning, City Could and BOE were able to tour each of three schools and see the current improvements and the goals for each building.
At Harold McCormick, officials were given a tour by Principal Eric Wampler, who showcased the new boiler – installed in 2016 – which allows administrators and energy partners to control the temperature in the building adequately. Wampler also showed the members the new sensory, which was donated by a parent to help children with sensory need. Outside the building, Council and BOE viewed the recently purchased two-acre property by the school system. ECS was able to buy the property at half the price, thanks to alumnus James Ausburne, who owned the property.
The main focus according to Dr. Gardenhour was the tour of T.A. Dugger, which ECS is currently looking at to perform an eight-room expansion at the rear of the school to have full ADA accessible and grow the STEM program.
During the most recent budget workshop meeting, Dr. Gardenhour added the education system could look at possibly holding off on the expansion portion but would like to get the OK to remove the home grandstands on the football field, where the development would take place. Dr. Gardenhour stated the project could take place with excess funds and grants and the tentative timeline to start would ideally be in the summer.
Board and Council then made a quick trip down the road to view Elizabethton High School where Principal Josh Boatman provided a tour of the newly renovated pool, band room and new ACT Wall – where students receive recognition for their high scores on the statewide test.
EHS has also been on the forefront of saving electricity, Gardenhour explained inside the science pod, with LED lighting.