School board approves $31m+ facilities plan

During a work session on Monday, April 9, the Robertson County Board of Education reviewed plans for its facilities before approving them in the regular meeting of the board later that same evening. CHERI REEVES

The Robertson County Board of Education has approved an estimated $31 million five-year facilities plan that will be presented to the Robertson County Commission.

The projected $30,750,000 in infrastructure, renovation and repair needs do not include projected funds needed to build a new middle school planned for the years 2021-2022.

The board approved the plan during its regular meeting on Monday, April 9, following a work session where the facilities plan was discussed.

The final plans were reviewed by Director of Schools Chris Causey.

YEAR 1 – 2018

  • The 2018 plans call for an estimated $500,000 to be spent on architectural fees to plan for the demolition and rebuilding of a portion of Coopertown Elementary School.
  • An estimated $50,000 is needed to hire an architect to renovate an unused portion of the Central Office building for an expanded alternative program.

YEAR 2 – 2019

  • The Coopertown Elementary School demolition and renovation project would require an estimated $10 million.
  • An estimated $1.5 million would be used for architectural and design fees to plan renovations at Westside Elementary, Krisle Elementary and Springfield Middle schools.
  • A projected $750,000 would be needed to renovate rooms for an expanded alternative program.

YEAR 3 – 2020

  • Renovations planned for Krisle and Westside elementary schools are projected to cost around $4 million.
  • Another $10 million is estimated for the Springfield Middle School renovation project.

YEARS 4, 5 - 2021 and 2022

  • An estimate is not given, or a zone named, for a planned newly constructed middle school for Robertson County. The county currently has three free-standing middle school buildings that are separate from the high school facility. They include: Coopertown Middle School, Springfield Middle School (which includes the magnet program) and Greenbrier Middle School.

YEAR 2023

  • An estimate is not provided for additions to both Greenbrier Middle School and Greenbrier High School.

After tearing down the older portion of Coopertown Elementary School, the school district is hoping to rebuild 10 classrooms and add six more - plus a reading room, put in a larger kitchen and cafeteria, replace the gymnasium floor and to renovate other portions of the school as needed.

The district’s goal is to bring back the 160 fourth and fifth grade students from Coopertown Middle School. They were placed at the middle school when it was constructed.

The $10 million projected funds for the Springfield Middle School renovation project would include renovating the entire building, with exception to the theater which was renovated last year.

The plans call for the expansion of the Innovation Academy magnet middle school program to include high school grades.

“It’s Dr. Bell’s vision, and my vision, that the school become a 6-12 magnet school, with 840 students” Causey said. “It would house the first freshman class in the year 2021.”

The comment drew questions from the board regarding the future of Springfield Middle School.

Allan Heard wanted to know the number of students that would remain at Springfield Middle School if the county expands the facility into a middle and high school level Innovation Academy.

“Right now, you are looking at about 80 students per grade, so anywhere between 240 and 300, depending on the class size,” Causey said.

“These students then, would have to be absorbed at another middle school?” Heard questioned.

Causey said that would be the case, unless the district decides to build a fourth middle school to accommodate the students.

During the April board meeting, the capital facilities plan was approved unanimously. It will be presented to the Robertson County Commission on Monday, April 16 by Causey.

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