Chairman Roy Bledsoe stepped into the breach between the
commission and the county school board Monday night, telling the
commissioners he intends to introduce a motion proposing two
projects be first for the county school's building program.
Bledsoe said he would recommend to the county capital projects
committee and the school board that work begin on a new middle
school in Loudon and renovations to the Philadelphia School
cafeteria. Those two projects, along with a new school in
Greenback and the combining of Loudon Elementary and Fort
Loudoun Middle School, make up Phase I of the building program
proposed by the school board.
Bledsoe said the new middle school would allow the school board
to get students out of all the trailers, which have been
installed to relieve overcrowding at Fort Loudoun Middle
The renovations in the Philadelphia cafeteria, which Bledsoe
described as "the smallest in the county," would allow the
school to stop serving lunches early in the morning and late
into the afternoon in an attempt get all students fed. He noted
that no classrooms were involved in the renovations and that the
renovations could be complete in 2010. "We can get that one off
the list," he told the commissioners.
Commissioner Austin Shaver said he had two primary concerns with
Bledsoe's plan. Shaver, himself an attorney, said he feared the
commission would run the risk of doing something illegal with
Shaver said he didn't think the county commission was allowed to
decide which projects would be done, only how much money the
commission could provide. "We need to find out if the county
commission is allowed to make motions for projects, not just a
dollar figure," he said. He recommended the county's attorney
answer that question before Bledsoe's motion was formally put
before the commission.
Shaver also noted that at an earlier meeting Director of Loudon
County Schools Wayne Honeycutt was asked what he perceives as
the greatest need in the county schools. He reported Honeycutt's
response to the question as being if problem is overcrowding,
then Fort Loudoun Middle School had the greater need, but if the
issue is safety then Greenback School is the top priority.
Speaking up from the audience Honeycutt confirmed the concern at
Greenback School is safety. Shaver said the issue of
overcrowding and safety between the two projects should be
"carefully considered" before any recommendations are made.
Bledsoe said he was very concerned that recent high winds could
make the trailers at Fort Loudoun Middle School a safety issue
as well. He went on to say his proposed motion was not telling
the school board what to do but an attempt to get the building
program moving and that once the two projects are complete the
county would continue the rest as soon as possible.
Bledsoe's motion may come before the commission at the Jan. 4