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Design committee OKs school layout


Staff Writer

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The Jonesborough School Design Committee has officially selected its schematic design for the new Jonesborough School.

On Wednesday, Dec. 9, the design committee unanimously voted in favor of the design for the school presented by Ken Ross Architects. The design includes a two-level building for a total cost of $32.7 million. 

Ross said the biggest difference between the newly approved design and that of previous meetings is a reduction of 2,000 square feet from the building, which came from reducing each classroom by 800 feet. He said that reduction will save money on the project.

“It’s hard to say right now (how much money the reduction will save),” Ross said, “but it will save quite a bit of money. It probably saved us close to $1.5 million.”

The school includes a two-floor plan with pre-K-2 and related arts classrooms, an auxiliary gym, cafeteria, media center and administration quarters on the first floor.

Ross said his team combined the home and away locker room areas in the gym in order to create more room for more lockers. He also said they added a weight training room. 

Adjacent to the gym is a band room that also doubles as a stage and has a “sound-rated moveable partition” between the auxiliary gym and the band room.

A central part of the first-floor design includes a common area that will mirror the downtown courthouse steps in Jonesborough.

“We’ve gotten feedback from Jordan Hughes, the principal at Boones Creek School, and from other schools and they have high praise for that aspect of the design,” Ross said. “They will use that for a lot of events and it can be used after hours for community use.”

The second floor of the school includes third through eighth grade classrooms and science labs that will be located above the downstairs media center.

Jonesborough Mayor Chuck Vest said the main goal in creating the school is to make sure the the building comes equipped with all a school system could possibly need.

“The goal is to create a facility that is totally functional when the staff moves in,” Vest said. “The administration and staff should not have to spend time having to retrofit rooms.”

Ross said the next step in the school building project will include adding more details to the building as well as conducting more meetings and making decisions regarding other areas of the school, such as the agriculture center and the athletic spaces set for the 48-acre tract.

“Next we will work on the design development, refining brick details, selecting exact materials for finishes,” Ross said. “We have met with a lot of people but we will continue to meet with technology (representatives with the school system), librarians, and nutrition to try to get the kitchen requirements down. Those are our next steps.”

The next design committee meeting will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 4 p.m. That meeting will be livestreamed and can be viewed at