By Collin Brooks
Multiple cost cutting scenarios for the new Boones Creek K-8 School were looked at during the Washington County Board of Education’s specially called meeting on Thursday, Dec. 9. In the end, none were taken.
The scenarios included cutting classrooms, ball fields, an auxiliary gym and going with a less expensive roofing and air-conditioning unit, that could have saved the schools up to $2.34 million when bundled, but the board voted unanimously against cutting anything from a project that has been estimated to cost north of $30 million.
“Let’s not cut anything until we know what the best is going to cost us,” School board member Clarence Mabe said. “Why not do it right to start with?”
The current $30-million estimate does not account for the technology enhancements that Washington County Director of Schools Kimber Halliburton is interested in.
One option that was briefly discussed was cutting classrooms at $195,000 per two, cutting up to eight classrooms would save $780,000, which would cut the capacity from 1,100 students with 46 classrooms, to 900 students. However, the plan would be to add the classrooms back at the end, which would cost about 40 percent more. Architect Tony Street said plans are for the construction of the school to be complete in March or April of 2019 and ready to be furnished in May for the start of school in 2019.
Even though the board voted down the money saving efforts, they did mention this won’t be the last opportunity they have to cut some costs. Board member Philip McLain said that after the contractor is picked, there will be an opportunity to cut more costs.
“We are going to have to go through value engineering and make this fit for the amount of dollars that we have,” McLain said.
A little bit of money was saved though, as the board was also able to move a roof project from 2017 on Jonesborough Middle School — which would have cost $700,000 — to a later date. They hope that will allow them to put $316,000 of that money toward audio enhancements in classrooms across the county, which, Halliburton said would start in K-4 classrooms. That move will still have to have County Commission approval.