City schools plan major renovation projects at three sites

Published 2:42 pm Monday, July 3, 2023

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Star Correspondent
Construction projects at three different Elizabethton school properties recently received the green light from the school board.
During its June meeting, the Elizabethton City School Board approved various contracts for construction projects at Elizabethton High School, T.A. Dugger Junior High School and the new Community Development and Engagement Center, which will occupy the former Union Prescription Shop building on Bemberg Road.
The board approved a contract with Thomas Weems Architect to complete design work and drawings for an athletic training facility at Elizabethton High School. Later this year, the board will likely solicit bids for the facility’s construction.
“This is one of the three projects that we presented to City Council for them to consider for additional funding and so this would get that process started,” Elizabethton Director of Schools Richard VanHuss said.
The architectural firm expects it will take about six months to receive all necessary approvals for the project, including the fire marshal’s approval.
“That’s an exciting project,” Board Chairman Eddie Pless said. “We’ll put something on the high school campus that was originally designed to be there back in the early ‘70s that we have needed for that long, for 50 years or so.”
Board members also unanimously approved project drawings for renovations at T.A. Dugger, as well as renovations at the new Community Development and Engagement Center, also known as CDEC.
The focus for construction at T.A. Dugger, the city’s middle school, is to create a secure entrance at the front of the building, as well as a handicapped accessible parking spot on nearby E Street, VanHuss said. Ramps will also be added from the handicapped accessible area to the building, he said.
The school system is also working to convert the former Union Prescription building near the high school into space for an alternative school, professional development center and family resource center. Once complete, it will provide space for teacher and staff training, as well as offices for a system social worker and the coordinated school health coordinator, VanHuss said.
The system acquired the building last year, according to property records. The Union pharmacy closed in 2020 after 42 years in operation.
Approving the drawings for the T.A. Dugger and CDEC projects will allow construction to move forward, VanHuss said.
The board also approved a contract with GRC Construction to complete the work at the middle school for an amount not to exceed $649,787. The work is expected to be completed within 180 days.
“This will be taken care of before moving on to the training center,” said VanHuss.
With all the work going on, the board also approved a construction management company. Preston Construction will serve as the construction manager for the work at the high school and CDEC.
VanHuss noted that grant funding will be used to pay for work at CDEC. He said $250,000 is available through the Innovative School Model Grant.

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