Crab Orchard Elementary will get a new driveway to go along with its new school facility following action by the Cumberland County Board of Education during a July 2 special-called meeting.

“Our initial estimates were to top the road that is already there,” said Kim Chamberlin with Upland Design. “After looking a little closer at what was there, it’s really not in any condition to be topped.”

Instead, Chamberlin proposed pulling up the existing asphalt drive from Hwy. 70 E. and put down a gravel foundation, 2 inches of asphalt and a top coat.

“Basically, you’re getting a new driveway,” he said. 

Some of the road is still in good shape and does not need replacing, he said. That portion of the drive would be left in place.

Chamberlin said the contractor had determined it would cost about $88,000 to redo the driveway portion. The project has about $250,000 in contingency funds.

“I feel very comfortable that’s a good price for what we’re doing,” he said.

Work on the new drive would not begin until after the old Crab Orchard school is demolished and the materials taken away.

“He needs a commitment to know this is something the board would like to do,” Chamberlin said.

Rob Safdie, 2nd District representative, moved to approve the driveway replacement, supported by Stace Karge, 9th District representative. 

Safdie said, “I saw the need for the road being renovated. I agree with Mr. Chamberlin. I think that road is in such bad condition I would pull up the asphalt and start from scratch.”

The motion was unanimously approved.

Work is continuing at a brisk pace on the new school, Chamberlin told the board. Site work has progressed, and sidewalks are installed.

While Chamberlin doesn't think the facility will be ready for the Aug. 1 first day of school, it would "not be far behind it,” he said.

A "hiccup" in the project is the new subsurface wastewater disposal system under construction at the school. The new system is being tied in to the existing school building to serve students until they move into the new facility.

But the contractor needs to test the plumbing facilities in the new facility before proceeding.

"We don't have a spot to do that until we tie into the new system," Chamberlin said. "We're going to look at if there is a way we can do a temporary tie-in to test the system."

Weather has hindered completion of the stadium and track renovation at Cumberland County High School, Chamberlin told the board during its June 27 meeting.

"They have everything down [on the track] except the final rubber coat," he said. "If the weather cooperates, they'll come down and do the final coat of the rubber on the track on Saturday and follow up next week with the markings."

During its July 2 special-called meeting, the board approved moving forward with the revised project. Turner Roofing of Crossville submitted the low bid of $612,500 for the main portion of the building and $60,000 for new soffits and fascia board.

The school system budgeted $650,000 for the project, and the base bid and soffits required an additional $22,500.

But the budget didn't leave funds to replace the roof on F Wing, bid at $170,000.

"The recommendation was to look at the base bid and alternate two," Chamberlin said.

Teresa Boston, 8th District representative, asked if it was necessary to replace F Wing right away.

"Can we get by with another year?" she asked.

Chamberlin said the roof on F Wing wasn't in as bad of shape as F Wing, but it did use the foam roofing material and the school system is trying to remove those due to ongoing maintenance issues and leaks. 

"I don't think it's something you need to put off very long, but we bid it as an alternate because, if there is an area you need to leave off, that would be the area," he said.

Chamberlin said if funds became available in the next several months, it would be possible to move forward with the F Wing roof project.

Josh Stone, 4th District representative, moved to approve the roofing project, supported by Boston. The motion was unanimously approved by the board.

Tom Netherton, 6th District representative, was unable to attend the July 2 special-called meeting.

Heather Mullinix is editor of the Crossville Chronicle. She covers schools and education in Cumberland County. She may be reached at hmullinix@crossville-chronicle.com.