Community Input Sought For HCDE Capital Building Plan

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Hamilton County Department of Education Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson Wednesday announced the creation of a survey to gain community input on the Hamilton County Department of Education Building Plan. 

“We are extremely grateful for the $100 million commitment to address the capital needs of the school system," said Dr. Johnson.  "We appreciate the efforts and support of County Mayor Coppinger and the commissioners. We recognize that over the course of the next few weeks, many eyes will be watching to ensure the strategic usage of these funds. We assure you that we will be very judicious in determining how to best maximize the use of these dollars.”

HCDE recognizes the obligation to use these funds with a focus on four areas: 

1. Growth
2. Efficient usage of buildings based on student capacity
3. Buildings that are beyond repair
4. Deferred maintenance  

The goal of the survey is not to name specific schools or projects but to hear what is important to the community as a whole. “We feel it is extremely important to garner community input around areas that are important in relation to our capital needs,” said Dr. Johnson. 

Please access the survey here.

Additionally, in the next week, HCDE officials will be digging into the comprehensive needs list approved by the board in February of this past school year. HCDE will also review the Regional Planning Authority’s information as well as information gathered from neighboring school districts. It will combine what is reviewed with what the community communicates as priorities to make an informed decision about how to best spend the $100 million.  

While this is an exciting time for HCDE, the system acknowledges there is $300 million in deferred maintenance and growth needs. This means additional revenue streams will be required to bring buildings up to standard and to prepare for future growth, said officials. 

In the coming months, there will be an external reviewer conduct a district-wide evaluation of all of facilities in hope of developing a long-range building plan to address capital needs beyond this initial investment of $100 million.

HCDE School Buildings are among the most energy-efficient in the state of Tennessee. According to the Tennessee Department of Education Energy Efficient Schools Initiative, the average utility cost for schools in Tennessee is $1.68 per square foot. 

Thanks to energy efficient initiatives like the use of geothermal HVAC systems and energy efficient lighting, Hamilton County schools pay an average of $1.35 per square foot. This means almost $2.5 million in savings every year when compared with the average school in the Volunteer State.

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