Phase 1 Is Done

After years of fussing, fighting and more drama than a soap opera, the long awaited Phase I of the school building program is done. The new Fort Loudon Middle School opened last year and the expansion at the Philadelphia the year before and now the new Greenback school is open.

As I attended the official opening of the new Greenback School, I couldn't help but think back over the last five years and what all transpired to bring everyone to this beautiful, amazing new school. I'll assure you, it didn't happen by accident. Ultimately, it took a majority of the school board and county commission members to make this dream a reality.

Sure, there were probably some mistakes made along the way and yes it did take a property tax increase to make it happen but it's done now and Loudon County has two brand new schools they can be proud of. More importantly, Loudon County has two new schools that will improve the education opportunities for our students for generations to come. I am honored to have been a small part of this monumental event.

But what now? After all, this was called Phase I. That would lead you to believe there is at least a Phase II. And there is or at least there was.

When we, the school board, passed the Phase I resolution back in January of 2009, it also included combining the old Loudon Middle and Elementary schools after the new middle school was complete. I understand that is underway now. The adopted Phase I resolution also included Phase II which was to begin immediately on completion of Phase I.

Phase II was to construct a new middle school, similar to but larger than, the new Loudon Middle school on the upper end of the county to alleviate over crowding at Eatons, North Middle and Highland Park. As I understand, that plan has now been put on hold, at least for now, in part to the changing demographics and level enrollments at the north end schools. However, other building projects are being looked at such as an addition to Loudon High School.

I guess time will tell what future projects will come about. But as for now, we have two beautiful, new schools in Loudon County. Be happy, be proud.