BY COLLIN BROOKS
The Mini-Dome Musket Bowl days are behind Washington County, but it looks like the biggest structure on East Tennessee State University’s campus could now become the home to the county’s high school graduations.
Student Councils from both Daniel Boone and David Crockett presented a proposal to the Washington County Board of Education during their monthly meeting on Dec. 1 to ask the BOE to consider the move.
“Every year we deal with overcrowding and traffic outside, but most importantly parents have to sit in the cafeteria to watch their kids graduate on a projector because their isn’t enough space in the gymnasium,” said Daniel Boone Senior Class President Matthew Wells after the meeting.
No decision was made, as Washington County Board of Education Chairman Jack Leonard asked that it be brought through the Planning Committee, but once the proposal has made its cycle, Leonard said that the board could make a decision in January.
Planning Committee Chairman Clarence Mabe said that it was good that the proposal was delivered by the students because it shows that the students don’t mind that it is being taken away from their campus.
“We knew this day would come, we really did,” Mabe said. “Last year we passed the bucket to the principals and asked them what they wanted to do and they decided to keep it the way it was.
“The problem is, if you have a big family, you want all of them to see you graduate, not just two, three and you don’t want them to go there at 7 o’clock in the morning. So we knew this day would come and I am glad that the students brought it to us.”
In the presentation, the students presented a proposal to host the graduation on May 20 inside the Mountain States Health Alliance Athletic Center for a total of $2,789. That price was given with the condition that ETSU was able to leave the bulk of the graduation set-up on the arena floor after ETSU’s graduation on May 6 and Northeast State’s graduation on May 9.
Wells and his presenters said that each school averages close to $1,700 in order to host the event at their own gymnasiums.
It also assumed that traffic control would be handled to some extent by school resource officers and/or officers from the Washington County Sheriff’s Department.
The plan reserves the space from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m., with the plans to have Daniel Boone’s ceremony from 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. and David Crockett’s from noon until 1 p.m. The price also includes a rehearsal day set Friday, May 19.
Board member Phillip McLain said that when he was on the planning committee a few years ago, holding graduation at the Mini Dome was talked about, but the prices made the idea unattainable. That isn’t the case this time, he said.
“These prices, if they are accurate today, are certainly more do-able,” said board member Phillip McLain, who noted he thought the last price they saw was close to $20,000. “These figures are very conservative.”
Reports Card to come
The BOE amended their rules to say that they will now be sending student progress electronically for grade levels 9-12, which will start next semester and save the school system $16,000 in a year. Parents are allowed to request a paper copy of the report.
Construction Manager chosen for new Boones Creek
The Washington County BOE chose Burleson Construction as their construction management team for the new Boones Creek K-8. The board unanimously chose Burleson over Hewlett-Spencer, LLC from Brentwood.
“That will be keeping it local, which I think is a good thing,” Leonard said.