Engineering costs for T.A. Dugger on Council docket

Published 7:51 am Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Phase 2 of renovations at one local middle school could soon before moving forward.

Elizabethton City Council will convene Thursday, Dec. 14, inside City Hall to address multiple items on their agenda, including a request of funds to begin the school phase of improvements at T.A. Dugger Junior High.

Per the request of the City Board of Education, Council members will vote whether or not to have $50,000 from the school’s half-cent sales tax fund to be used for architectural designs, surveying and engineering services to begin to kick start the process of addition work at the school.

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Board of Education representatives voted during a special-called meeting in November to approve a letter to City Council, outlining what the funding would be used for and what the project would include.

In the letter, board members stated the work would start the process of having projects at the school take place, including the connection of buildings to address handicapped accessibility, renovation and addition of restroom facilities and the demolition of portable classrooms that are “20 years past their life expectancy” according to the letter. Overall plans include the school to be in a position to have addition classrooms to focus in on the growth of the STEM curriculum.

“We thank you for your support and encouragement over the years and truly appreciate our working relationship,” Booher stated in the letter. “You are public servants and valued members of our community.”

The letter follows the decision of the BOE to approve a contract with Thomas Weems Architect for schematic design master planning services in regards to expansion at junior high school, officially approved during November’s regularly-scheduled meeting.

According to a preliminary bond study, Director of Schools Dr. Corey Gardenhour told the board that the system could make bond payments, at this time, to cover renovation costs but the prices could fluctuate. Cost for expansion is expected to cost roughly $3.9 million.

Improvements will be vital for the school, according to the letter, which cites the schools being the “oldest, most recognized and used City school building”, the school’s usage for several community events, being named a level 5 status school last year and being part of the school system’s 2017-18 Exploring School District status from the state.