Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

May 23, 2013

BOE panel considers $5.8 million in building upgrades

By Missy Wattenbarger
Lifestyles editor

CROSSVILLE — Nearly $5.8 million in renovations will be presented Thursday afternoon during the Cumberland County Board of Education’s monthly meeting. Designs for the Cumberland County High School football stadium renovation and additions to North Cumberland and Crab Orchard elementary schools are among the projects to be discussed.

Architect Kim Chamberlin, with Upland Design Group, shared the details of each project with the board’s building and grounds committee Wednesday. When it came to the Cumberland County High School football stadium, he had little progress to report, mostly because of the lack of original drawings for the building.

“If someone knows where some are at, I would love to get my hands on them,” he said.

However, Chamberlin did explain some details of what the facility would offer, such as new restrooms, ticket booths, concessions area, locker rooms and storage room within 6,000 square feet of space tucked underneath the existing structure.

Based on the “rough numbers” he presented to the committee, the whole project would cost approximately $1,345,000, with new building construction coming in at $720,000. The cost to completely demolish the stadium and start from scratch would have been much higher, he noted.

Repairs on the stadium’s railings, damaged concrete and other items could be around $125,000, but that number is “still open,” he stated. Track resurfacing, depending on the materials used, would be as high as $275,000. Demolition underneath the structure and track walls would be about $150,000, with costs to prep the site and fix drainage issues around $75,000.

“This building will be a new building in itself underneath there?” asked Sandy Brewer, 3rd District representative.

“Correct,” Chamberlin replied. “There are still some things we want to work out. We need to get the building measured and have actual drawings to look at, but we have a good feel(ing about it).”

Chamberlin was also confident about what could be done at North Cumberland and Crab Orchard Elementary to help with overcrowding and eliminate portable classrooms currently being used. The preliminary budgets for the projects totaled $1,725,000 and $2,688,000, respectively.

For North Cumberland, the additions would include a playroom measuring 2,576 square feet and a classroom wing at 11,345 square feet. It would include 10 classrooms, restrooms and a workroom. Chamberlin pointed out that limited space makes this project more difficult. He showed only one potential site where the wing could be placed, taking over the spot of a portable classroom and 20 parking spaces.

“And that’s the only location is where the portables are now?” asked Vivian Hutson, 6th District representative.

“It really is. One of the things we talked about being able to do was build the playroom first and utilizing it for some classrooms... Then take the portables and move them out of the way and then build the classroom wing. That may be a good way to approach it,” Chamberlin stated.

According to Chamberlin, doing away with the portables would be the right move because of their deteriorating conditions and the current number of students at the school. Construction would take 10 months or longer, he noted. The playroom would cost $400,000 to build and the classroom wing $1.2 million. The costs to prepare the site would be $125,000.

For Crab Orchard, he proposed adding four classrooms to the school at a cost of $425,000, as well as removing one classroom of an existing wing to give access to a new 14,253-square-foot gymnasium. The price for it would be around $2,138,000 plus $125,000 for site prep.

“The existing gymnasium is so hard to get to... (and) you have handicapped accessibility issues in there,” he explained.

The new gym would include a lobby, new restrooms and concessions area on one side, with storage, an office and locker rooms on the other. About 600 bleachers seats will be nestled in between. The old gym would be used as a playroom, he noted.

Principal Rebecca Farley was pleased with the design of the gym, but wondered if the school’s cafeteria could be enlarged somehow. She was also concerned that a four-classroom addition would not be enough, especially when an existing classroom would be removed for gym access. She explained that she is already short on space and will soon need two more teachers.

VanWinkle agreed and asked if the new addition could be doubled to include eight classrooms. Chamberlin was unsure about the cafeteria, but said the eight-room addition would be possible. However, the price for the project would increase to more than $3 million.

VanWinkle pointed out that the costs of the additions at both schools almost come out to what it would cost to build a new elementary school.

“The old plan was to rezone everything into a new elementary school so we could get rid of the portables that way,” she stated.

“Building a new new school is a whole new ball game,” said Brewer, bringing up transportation and additional expenses that would create. “We have to look at what this county can afford...”

“What would the estimated cost be on a new school?” Dan Schlafer, 9th District representative, asked Chamberlin.

“...I think you’re probably looking at around 95,000 square feet for a new school...Right now about $10 million,” replied Chamberlin.

“I thought about $8 million,” said VanWinkle.

“Older numbers... I would go by the 10 number to be safe,” he said.

The topic of out-of-zone students rounded out the discussion Wednesday. The committee agreed it would be best for the entire board to review the issue during a future work session.

“I hate to talk about zoning because there are hundreds of reasons why people do it...,” said Brewer.

“We’re not wanting to hurt people...,” commented Hutson.

“No, but you need to look at that when you start building,” added Brewer.

The BOE will meet Thursday at 5 p.m. for a work session on the 2013-’14 budget. The regular monthly meeting will follow at 6 p.m.