ECS, City Council hold workshop about projects

Published 5:22 pm Friday, February 9, 2018

A fruitful partnership between City Council and Elizabethton City Schools continues to net essential returns for the up-and-coming leaders of the community.

Officials from both sides of the spectrum met Thursday afternoon prior to the regularly-scheduled Council meeting for a workshop to go over a variety of projects going on in the community, ranging from T.A. Dugger Junior High to the possibility of acquiring land near Elizabethton High School.

“I believe the meeting went very well,” said ECS Director of Schools Dr. Corey Gardenhour. “We were able to strike up a conversation on different projects, including T.A. Dugger and the old hospital property and property at Harold McCormick. We appreciate the support Council gives us and we hope to keep being a tool to help build up the community for the future.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Elizabethton Mayor Curt Alexander was quick to second the sentiments of the school board director. During talks Monday, the mayor said Council was behind the idea of continuing renovations at T.A. Dugger – but that it would be important to keep eye on the volatility of the bond market, inflation and the recently passed tax law.

“Work at T.A. Dugger is something Council fully behind,” Alexander said. “If you look back, our list of capital projects all started after talks that came from T.A. Dugger.”

Currently, the school system has hit a delay on reaching the next phase of improvements at the school due to the hope of finding a more opportune time to utilize the half-cent sales tax to cover expansion work.

Thomas Weems, local architect, added designs for the school have been worked on as far back as 2011, and that the tentative $3.9 million price tag for renovations could be 10 percent less or more, depending on the situation.

Improvements at the schools are being sought after to make the school fully ADA-accessible, improvement restroom facilities and set the stage to build new classrooms to bolster more of the STEM-based programs at the school.

Gardenhour added they will be more than happy to wait on the bond market to adjust accordingly to make sure the project can be done without any burden to the public. In the meantime, a resolution of support for the project is expected to be drawn up and presented to City Council in the coming weeks.


Another project that was brought up was the potential use of a lot behind Northeast Community Credit Union on Jason Witten Way for practice soccer fields.

The area would be used by ECS students, Elizabethton Soccer Association and the Boys & Girls Club of Elizabethton/Carter County in a three-way agreement.

Alexander said there are still some steps that need to be taken before further talks can happen, including a Phase II Environmental Study of the property.


Other items discussed the workshop including progress with property at Harold McCormick and the possibility of having a student part of the Council.

The ECS BOE currently has a student liaison and the possibility is out there of having a student being part of Council as part of the Bartleby Program. In a non-voting fashion, a Council liaison would attend meetings – after being selected by peers at Elizabethton High School – and provide a voice for the youth of the city.

“We’re always interested in ways of getting the community involved,” Alexander said. “We’re going through our city attorney to see what necessary steps have to be taken to make this happen.”