The Cleveland Board of Education’s Site Committee is recommending a change which could help with traffic at the city’s newest school, Candy’s Creek Cherokee Elementary.
To prevent backups onto nearby Georgetown Road/Highway 60, cars of those picking up and dropping off children are “stacked” on a driveway at the school. However, district officials have learned the driveway is not wide enough.
Cleveland City Schools Director of Operations Hal Taylor told the Site Committee on Wednesday that, for the sake of “value engineering,” the main part of the driveway was made single-lane.
“The SRO has cars lining up side-by-side on a single lane,” Taylor said.
While that is reportedly working temporarily, Taylor said a more permanent solution is needed. He is recommending widening the driveway by about four feet, which he said could cost between $10,000 and $15,000.
Director of Schools Dr. Russell Dyer noted enrollment at the new school was slightly higher than anticipated, which has affected the traffic flow.
“I don’t think it was an oversight; I just think it is something we didn’t know we needed,” said Steve Morgan, at-large school board member and chairman of the Site Committee.
This matter will be brought before the full school board at a later date.
Discussions also touched on the Tennessee Department of Transportation wanting to buy easements as it prepares to widen Highway 60.
Dyer said he is consulting with Cleveland City Manager Joe Fivas as he talks with TDOT representatives about TDOT purchasing an easement in front of Candy’s Creek Cherokee Elementary and temporarily renting part of Cleveland Middle School’s property.
This, too, will be brought to the school board’s attention once final negotiations are done.
Taylor also gave an update on a problem with the air conditioning system at Cleveland High School. Due to a broken centrifugal chiller in the building’s east wing, a temporary chiller has been rented and set up to temporarily fix the problem.
Engineers are in the process of assessing the school and its HVAC needs. Taylor said it is possible the air conditioning system there is not the right kind for the building’s current footprint.
“We knew when we did the [Raider] Arena, it might not match the cooling load,” Taylor said.
He also said a problem has surfaced with the chiller in Cleveland High’s west wing which will need to be addressed as well.
The bidding process for the needed work has not begun yet, but Taylor cautioned redoing the school’s air conditioning system could be costly.
“We are probably looking at anywhere from $200,000 to $300,000,” Taylor said.
In addition to the expenses of the driveway at the elementary school and the air conditioning system at the high school, Taylor said the district will also need to look at replacing aging school buses in the near future.
In light of this, Taylor asked to delay submitting a proposed plan for future capital projects to the school board this fall. This delay will allow time for district staff to learn more about the actual costs of existing capital needs.