County BOE moves on Hunter School project

Published 9:41 pm Thursday, December 16, 2021

Putting the bid out…

In a project that has been “a long time coming, the Carter County Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to release the Hunter School addition and renovation project for bids.

The project is estimated to cost $20 million and could take 2.5 years to complete.

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The board will take a wait-and-see approach to see if the bid returns within the estimates received so they can provide the Stoney Creek community with a school that has been “a long time coming” according to board member Kelly Crain.

“Stoney Creek will be proud,” said Crain.

Board member Keith Bowers, who represents the Stoney Creek district said he was excited for the community.

The new addition will cover approximately 69,000 square feet and will take up $16M of the project with the remaining cost including:
– $400,000 for renovations to the existing building including a new fire alarm, new intercom system, exterior door hardware, secure door vestibule, and renovations for a new administration area.
– $450,000 for a sewer upgrade.
– $600,000 for new kitchen equipment.
– $150,000 for new furnishings.
– $800,000 for site work.
– $800,000 for contingency.
– $900,000 for architect and engineering fees.

In other board actions, board member Danny Ward made a motion to appropriate $150,000 toward the Broadband initiative to show the BOE commitment to the project.

“We need the internet for our kids,” Ward said. “They have programs that can help kids get it. Dr. Robert Acuff shared that when the application is made for the grant money that it helps when they see everyone is signed on.”

Board chairman Tony Garland shared his fears about committing $150,000, especially with the Hunter School project starting to pick up steam. Garland initially asked to table the matter but with the current timetable, Ward said action needed to be taken sooner than later.

Garland said he would like to negotiate the amount down to $100,000. “It wasn’t like the request was for $500,000 and that $150,000 wasn’t that much money and with the commission’s commitment of $3.1 M it would make the total amount the county would receive to be an even $13M after a 75-25 match that is being offered,” Ward said.

A vote was taken on the motion and narrowly defeated 4-3.

After a motion was made for the $100,000, the board voted unanimously 7-0 in approval.

Ward also said the rumor that the BOE was closing Cloudland had no merit as the board had already voted to not close any schools.

The BOE also approved several budget amendments and set the next board workshop for Jan. 13, 2022 ,and the board meeting for Jan. 20, 2022.