School Board unanimously approves Hunter Elementary expansion

Published 9:47 am Friday, June 30, 2023

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Star Correspondent
The Carter County School Board unanimously approved a $17.6 million bid Thursday to expand Hunter Elementary.
School Superintendent Brandon Carpenter said the county received two bids from JE Green, a construction company based in Johnson City.
One bid came in from JE Green for $17,560,000 for the massive construction project, which will practically double the size of the school.
The company submitted a second bid because experts conducted preliminary soil samples and found “some kind of bedrock,” which Carpenter said “could cost a little bit more.” The second bid was for $17,629,000.
Carpenter recommended the board approve the second bid.
“It is much more time efficient,” said Carpenter, who explained that if an issue came up, the board would not have to approve additional funds.
Kelly Crain, chairman of the school board, said, “This has been a long time coming guys. We have worked on this one. We agreed and disagreed.”
Crain said he believes the project “will be a great opportunity.”
“I think this will be wonderful. It will be something we can all be proud of,” Crain said.
Board member Keith Bowers Sr., who repesents in Stoney Creek, where Hunter Elementary is located, made a motion to approve the second bid of $17,629,000.
“I’m excited about making this motion,” Bowers said.
Danny Ward, who seconded the motion, said, “I’m glad we have finally gotten to this point. It’s been a long time coming. Stoney Creek deserves this.”
The motion passed unanimously.
Board member Tony Garland said he was voting for the motion with the understanding that construction at Hunter would allow for “a reduction in a number of facilities.”
After approving the bid, Bowers recalled having a newspaper article from 2008 that discussed a new school for Stoney Creek.
Carpenter previously said that the work at Hunter Elementary includes a middle school and special education wings, a new gym that can comfortably seat 800 students, with boys and girls locker rooms for both visiting and home teams, a new football locker room, as well as two spare classrooms for future growth and an update to the building’s façade.
Hunter typically has about 450-500 students.
“We’re doing this using fund balance,” said Carpenter, who added that the school system is not requesting additional funds from the county or taxpayers to pay for construction.
The county is using money from ESSER, or Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.
It is unknown when construction will begin. The biggest hold up, Carpenter said, may be materials.

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