Loudon meeting discusses schools
Building plans draw questions, criticisms
Commission, Board of Education discuss Greenback
Elizabeth Trexler News Herald
"After tonight, I hope we can put some of these rumors to bed," Mayor Estelle Herron said as she opened the joint Loudon County Commission and Loudon County Board of Education meeting.
She also informed the audience anyone who had rotten tomatoes to toss could leave.
The meeting, held Monday at the Loudon County Technical Center, lasted less than three hours, but oftentimes the audience, estimated to be more than 100 people, had to shout out for the speakers to talk louder.
Don Shell of Community Techtonics was the first speaker of the night. He provided a look at the changes made recently to the Greenback School plan.
Shell told the audience they have removed the third wing and placed the high school on the second level, above the middle school. Community Techtonics has also decided on 277 parking spots, to allow for event parking for things such as football and other athletic events.
"We think if we cut the square footage we can have $6 million in savings," Shell said.
One question posed in the meeting was about the significant increase in square footage from the current building.
"Can anyone say that each classroom is exactly the right size," Shell asked the audience. The answer was a resounding "no."
Classrooms with five computers will need an additional 100 square feet according to Shell.
"Teachers are no longer lining students up and having them stay there all day," Shell said.
He reiterated this building will be in use for 40 years.
"Why would you build to the smallest space," he asked.
Board of Education chairman Scott Newman asked how much space could be saved by removing the high school from the building and making it a pre-kindergarten through eighth grade facility, and bus the high school students to Loudon High School.
Shell said about 25,000 square feet could be saved.
The next presenter at the meeting was Scott Gibson with Morgan Keegan & Company investment bankers.
Gibson talked about the money side of the issue: How to fund this school building project.
He provided the joint boards seven options with varying loan amounts and length of time on the payback.