Johnson City Press: Washington County Board of Education considers $1.5 million roof replacement for aging Jonesborough schools

Washington County Board of Education considers $1.5 million roof replacement for aging Jonesborough schools

Jessica Fuller • Updated Dec 13, 2018 at 10:01 PM

While progress on the future Jonesborough K-8 school remains stalled, a factor that can no longer be ignored is that the existing schools need new roofs. 

Board member Todd Ganger brought the issue to the board during his presentation of the Facilities Committee report at Thursday night’s Washington County Board of Education meeting. The schools’ aging roofs have been hanging over the board for the last few years as they’ve debated the future of the school. 

Maintenance supervisor Phillip Patrick cautioned in the past that the buildings were well overdue for new roofs as the board struggled to come to a consensus for a plan for the new school. At Thursday night’s meeting, Patrick estimated a new roof for Jonesborough Elementary would cost more than $900,000, while a roof for Jonesborough Middle school would run the board about $500,000.

Ganger made a motion to petition the County Commission for the money to replace the roofs, but the motion didn’t sit well with other board members. Mary Beth Dellinger, who represents the Jonesborough community and has pushed for a new Jonesborough school for the past three years, said she didn’t like the motion because she felt like it doomed the students to the old buildings in the eyes of the commission. 

Chairman Keith Ervin weighed in, saying he wanted to defer the motion until the board could schedule a called workshop to address a dilemma with the McCoy property, the parcel of land adjacent to the two Jonesborough schools that would allow for construction of a road and a bus loading zone for the new school. 

“If we vote on a new roof, (the commission) might think we’ve given up on Scheme 6,” he said.

Lowe’s Home Improvement refused to remove restrictions on the sale of the property earlier this week, citing that Lowe’s officials would prefer to see the land used for commercial use. 

While the commission plans to extend the purchase option on the property for a sixth time, Ervin said he wanted to regroup with architect Tony Street before progressing with roofs for the Jonesborough school buildings. 

“Just to remind you, we’ve held off on this roof for over three years now,” Ganger responded. “We’ll continue to kick the can down the road. That’s all we do.” 

A motion to table the issue passed in a 6-3 vote, made by David Hammond. Ganger, Mitch Meredith and Jason Day voted against it. A board member may bring the motion back to the full board at a later date. 

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