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Figuring funding: Boone roof next on school list

Daniel Boone High School roof repairs are still being discussed by county and school officials. (Photo contributed)

UPDATE: On Thursday, Feb. 6, Washington County’s Health Education and Welfare Committee opted to send a motion on to the budget committee in support of re-roofing the gym’s roof at Daniel Boone High School for no more than $400,000. The budget committee will discuss the project at its Wednesday, Feb. 12, meeting at 9 a.m. at the courthouse in Jonesborough. Check next week’s Herald & Tribune for updates on the project.

By MARINA WATERS

Staff Writer

[email protected]

Repairs for the roof at Daniel Boone High School remain on the Washington County Board of Education’s five-year maintenance plan for the current school year, but funding is still being discussed among school and county officials.

Washington County Director of Schools Bill Flanary said the roof repairs at the high school would cost around $2.6 million. For now, the school system is waiting to see how the county will move forward in funding the project.

“$2.6 million is a big price tag in this environment, considering we just opened a school and hopefully start construction on another one here really soon,” Flanary said. “We’re hopeful that we can get some financial assistance from county government. We will find out the next time (the county’s committees) meet.”

The main building’s roof needs the repairs the most, Flanary told the Herald & Tribune. He also said the portion over the school’s gym is the biggest concern.

“I would say the majority of that school, including its outbuildings, are in need of repair and replacement,” Flanary said. “(Maintenance Supervisor Phillip Patrick) says there are parts of it that you can’t even walk on. It just disintegrates if you walk on it. The roof is that old in places. Let’s say that the gymnasium is in the most dire need of repair.”

Leaks over the gym at Boone, Flanary said, could add to the repair costs.

“We’re getting leaks in the gymnasium area,” Flanary said. “That particular, enormous rectangular area, we do have leaks. And that’s something we’ll have to address or we’ll lose the gym floor. It will drastically increase the cost of our capital project out there. We’ll have to do something and it’ll have to come from somewhere. We’ll see very soon where that source will be.” 

Washington County’s Health Education and Welfare Committee tabled the discussion on the repairs at the committee’s January meeting. The committee, which meets on Thursday, Feb. 6, could again discuss the project at its next meeting.

Washington County Director of Accounts and Budgets Mitch Meredith said the county will likely consider which portions of the building will need the repairs, but that the needs will be met by the commission.

“I think the funding to do what needs to be done will be there,” Meredith said. “There’s about 140,000 square feet of roof at Boone. I don’t think all 140,000 is leaking. So there may be some questions as to the scope of the project. I guess the takeaway is I know the county commission will fund what needs to be done. We’re not going to have water pouring into the classrooms.”

Meredith added, however, that a lot of the coming maintenance needs are currently “tied up” with the upcoming Jonesborough project.

The Town of Jonesborough is set to build a new Jonesborough K-8 school with athletic and recreational facilities on a 48-acre tract on North Cherokee Street in Jonesborough. But, for the county, that project still comes with design costs, architectural fees and funds to lease the building and athletic facilities.

“Everything is kind of tied up in what’s going to be required to provide current year and next year funding for the Jonesborough project,” Meredith said. “(The Boone roof project) is on the county’s capital investment plan — as is the Jonesborough project — but there has not been any appropriation of funds by the commission for really either of those projects other than what the commission passed Monday night in terms of appropriating (funds) for the Jonesborough project.”

On Monday, Jan. 27, the Washington County Commission approved a budget amendment request from Meredith to add $1,059,500 for a portion of the initial Jonesborough K-8 project planning and design costs. The amendment request included that $500,000 come from fund balance. The other $559,500 came from an account for building improvements at Daniel Boone High School. 

The county typically considers the school’s maintenance needs on a case-by-case basis. And each project, Meredith said, is funded according to the cash flow for the county, which impacts each project on the maintenance need list.

“It all has an impact,” Meredith said. “All this (on the maintenance needs list) is being funded by the cash flow. We didn’t go borrow $32 million to do the Jonesborough project, so we have to appropriate funding for it every year. And the same way with the rest of those capital improvement needs like the Boone roof. Those things are getting funded by the cash flow.”

The county will hold its monthly committee meetings Thursday, Feb. 6. To view the committees’ agendas and for a complete schedule, go to http://www.washingtoncountytn.org/.