Johnson City Press: Washington County board delays vote on two new 'schemes' for Jonesborough school

Washington County board delays vote on two new 'schemes' for Jonesborough school

Zach Vance • Jul 9, 2018 at 9:44 PM

The Jonesborough school project will have to wait at least one more month as a divided Washington County Board of Education ponders two new schemes presented to it Monday night. 

Architect Tony Street unveiled the new options, which he termed Scheme 5 and Scheme 6, for the board to contemplate, but five of the nine members ultimately decided to wait at least a month before voting on either plan. 

Scheme 5 involves tearing down the round portion of Jonesborough Elementary School and renovating the remaining 30,000 square feet. In addition to that, Street said a 75,000 square-foot addition would be added to the renovated section, with a new gymnasium, new cafeteria and new kitchen. 

Scheme 5 would cost around $17.47 million, which includes a little over $3 million in site work. 

The downside to Scheme 5 is it would only include 29 classrooms with a capacity for 675 students. Interim Director of Schools Bill Flanary said the current enrollment for Jonesborough Middle School and Jonesborough Elementary is 940 students. 

“This could then be expanded at a later date to include the additional classrooms needed. One of the keys to this, and me and Dr. Flanary talked about this, there would have to be eight-to-10 classrooms relocated to other existing space within the county,” Street said. “There’s some space, I think, at South Central, at West View and Lamar.”

Responding to a board member’s question, Street said it would be inefficient to house those 8-to-10 classrooms in Jonesborough Middle. 

“It would be kind of inefficient to operate that school with eight or 10 classrooms. It would almost be better, from an operational standpoint, to incorporate those classes into buildings that are already functioning,” Street said. 

Scheme 6, also within the school board’s budget, consists of renovating Jonesborough Middle while adding about 64,000 square foot of new building. The round portion of Jonesborough Elementary would be left standing under Scheme 6, Street said. 

The renovated section of Scheme 6 would have all new flooring, a new ceiling, new lighting, new heating and air, new lockers and a new roof. 

“That’s heavy renovations,” Street said.

“I think this is the best scheme I’ve seen so far,” board member Clarence Mabe said. “It shows a new building from the front, it has good parking, it’s a long ways from the football field.” 

Board member Phillip McLain expressed some concern about the current Jonesborough Middle’s cafeteria only being expanded 500 square feet under the renovation. The school’s cafeteria currently serves around 400 students compared to roughly 940 students under the Scheme 6 proposal. 

“I hate to be the devil’s advocate on this, but it concerns me,” McLain said. 

“I think this is very-improved from Scheme 3. Scheme 6, I think it has a lot more advantages,” board member Mary Beth Dellinger said. “But, just getting this tonight and looking at it, I’d really like to have a little bit more time before we vote. I’d like to at least give it a month to engage people in the community to see what they think. I’d like to table this until next month.”

Members Todd Ganger, Mike Masters, Mabe and Chairman Jack Leonard voted against Dellinger’s motion to wait a month while Keith Ervin, David Hammond, Annette Buchanan and McLain joined Dellinger in choosing to wait.

On the other side of the county, construction manager Tommy Burleson said construction on the new Boones Creek K-8 school is progressing smoothly, considering the dry weather as of late. He estimated the building itself was about 38 percent complete.







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