County schools to eye spending options
by By JOYANNA LOVE Banner Staff Writer
Sep 13, 2013 | 937 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print

A Bradley County Board of Education committee has been formed to study how the school system can use $287,500 of Blue Springs Elementary School code upgrades insurance money.

The board decided not to rebuild the school after it was damaged by a tornado in April 2011.

Finance Director Rick Smith said the school system’s insurance company has granted an extension until April 27, 2015, for the school system to use the funds.

“Travelers (Insurance) will not pay until the actual costs are incurred,” Smith said.

Smith said this is the final extension the insurance company will offer.

Lake Forest had been accepted as an alternative site for the funds to be used because Blue Springs students went on to attend LFMS. The funds cannot be used to cover architectural drawings for the project. The funds must in some way support code upgrades.

Scheduled renovation to the roof and heating and air system at the school was deemed by the insurance company to not meet the requirements to receive the funds.

In light of a recent vote by the Bradley County Commission, Smith said construction on Lake Forest Middle School would not begin by this deadline.

Board member Nicholas Lillios asked if any other school needed code upgrades and could benefit from these funds.

Chairperson Vicki Beaty appointed board members Christy Critchfield, Lillios and Chris Turner to serve on the committee.

Critchfield said she would like the board to meet with members of the Blue Springs community in an open forum before a decision is made on how to spend the funds.

“It is their school. This was a very tragic loss to the community, and I would like for us to explain why we are doing what we are doing,” Critchfield said.

A date is expected to be selected at next month’s meeting.

Although a start date seems a long way off for Lake Forest, the addition at Walker Valley High School is ahead of schedule.

Angie Lyon of Kaatz, Binkley, Jones and Morris said the project was about a week ahead of schedule.

“Walls have started going up on the cafeteria. On the classroom addition, they are up to starting to pour the second floor,” Lyon said.

She said brickwork will continue next week.

“I drove by there, and it is a nice addition to the campus,” said board member Charlie Rose.

The classroom addition is being built to Federal Emergency Medical Agency storm shelter standards.

A request to tie in to the school system’s sewer line at Prospect Elementary was also presented to the board Thursday.

Jason Cox has a failing septic system on one of his rental properties, without enough acreage or good soil to repair it. Cox said he has researched many other possible solutions, but maintains none would be approved by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. Cox also petitioned for annexation by the city to be accepted into its sewer system. This was not approved.

Bradley County Director of Schools Johnny McDaniel said he was “not in favor of becoming a utility district.”

Turner said he did not like the idea of having an empty building being going unused if TDEC pursued vacating the building because of the issue. The capacity of the pipeline was also a concern for the board.

The board approved allowing Cox to tie in to the line, provided he take on full liability for the add-on and have it approved by the Cleveland City Council to comply with a city sewer code regarding pipes that eventually flow into Cleveland Utilities.