School repair projects abound this summer

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By Cindy Simpson

Saying it needs more time for review, the Roane County budget committee has postponed its Friday meeting.

On the agenda was the Roane County Schools budget, which is on the agenda for approved at the school board meeting Thursday.

Officials have rescheduled that budget meeting for Wednesday, June 22, at 2 p.m.

On Monday, the Roane County Commission did approve amending the school budget for repairs around the school system. The school system will be using $1 million in a no-interest Energy Efficient Schools Initiative loan and a second $1 million from instruction reserves to fund the projects.

“We think when we are finished that generally the facilities will be in pretty good shape,” said Director of Schools Toni McGriff. She and schools business manager Eric Harbin attended Monday’s Roane County Commission meeting to answer questions about the proposal.

The two also submitted a list of second-phase building projects, many scheduled for this summer.

Others are unfunded or cannot be completed before school begins in the fall.

The projects include renovating the old Harriman Middle School gym into a building trades shop and demolishing the old Harriman central office building and Central Elementary School to make room for additional parking and bus unloading areas.

The list also includes replacing the leaking roof at the Roane County High School gym, roof repairs at Harriman High School gym, replacing Rockwood High School’s roof and repairing Oliver Springs High School’s roof.

New HVAC units are proposed at the Midtown Education Center, as well as new lights and ceilings.

Officials believe adding an energy management system and new energy efficient lighting will increase savings.

Roane County High will get new window air conditioners, and its antiquated HVAC system will be replaced.

An  energy management system and new energy efficient windows will be added.

Installing a new car lane at Ridge View Elementary is also on schedule for this summer.

Roane County Commissioner Bobby Collier said the budget committee first sent back the request because it wasn’t clear.

“I feel very confident in them going ahead and spending the money now that I know what they are doing,” Collier said.

Projects listed for summer 2012 include asbestos removal at Harriman High School, replacing HVAC units at Harriman Middle School and Bowers Elementary School and enlarging the band building at Roane County High School.

Adding three classrooms and a new entrance at Midway High School may be funded if funds are left over from the $32 million given to the county by TVA as restitution in the wake of the Dec. 22, 2008 ash spill at Kingston Fossil Plant.

McGriff said that after passing their building plan for the $32 million, a cafeteria at Midway Middle School took precedence.

School board members agreed to add the cafeteria with the stipulation the classrooms at the high school would be completed if money remains.