The County School Board will go along with an interlocal agreement with the County Commission that calls for setting aside funds from the sale of surplus school property to be used on new school projects.
The board also agreed to formally provide the county with a list of school building needs.
Chairman Mike Evatt said the list has not changed over the last couple of years, and he said he believed that all school board members had shared the list with their commission counterparts. But it was agreed that the list will be presented to the commission for its ratification.
School officials are hoping that will break a logjam on a new East Brainerd Elementary School. Gary Waters, who oversees the school building program, said an architect needs to be put to work on the project very soon if it is to be ready by the fall of 2014.
He noted it is 21 months until August 2014 and he said normally the architect needs 12 months and the builder 14 months.
Mr. Waters said a controversial East Brainerd school rezoning "was all hinged on getting the East Brainerd Elementary open by the fall of 2014."
He said, otherwise, "We are going to see overcrowding at East Brainerd and Westview that we do not have the capacity to handle."
The County Commission recently balked at approving the architect for the new East Brainerd School, saying there was uncertainty on how school officials use proceeds from the sale of surplus property and that the commissioners had not been presented a plan for future school needs.
The list includes:
East Brainerd Elementary
Ooltewah Elementary (which is underway)
Addition at Snowhill Elementary
Addition at Wolftever Elementary
Addition at Nolan Elementary
Addition at Sale Creek Middle/High School
The total cost was put at $67 million. The county earlier set aside $50 million for new school projects, which basically will pay for the Ooltewah and East Brainerd projects with about $5 million left.
The price for the Sale Creek addition was put at $10.5 million, but Mr. Waters said there should be consideration of building a new middle/high school at a site behind North Hamilton Elementary. He said the current Sale Creek site has only 12 acres. There are over 120 acres at North Hamilton.
The school system has a 105-acre tract behind Brown Middle School that it got from the Army as part of the huge VAAP tract.