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Top Stories of 2016: Commission, board push ahead for new school projects

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The new Boones Creek K-8 school might not break ground until the spring of the new year, but that didn’t stop the project from being a top story of 2016.

After deciding to begin what was originally part of the Washington County Director of Schools, Kimber Halliburton’s vision for the Washington Way plan of constructing two new K-8 schools and repurposing the old buildings, the new Boones Creek K-8 school got the go ahead.

The board agreed to build the new school while simultaneously making Jonesborough Middle School into a magnet school. But when it came to construction of the new Boones Creek School, however, the work had just begun.

Funding was a major player in the plan to construct this new school, but after the county commission approved a 40-cent tax increase to fund the school, it was up to the Board of Education to tackle the next obstacle—location.

From a possible location on Carroll Creek Road to a site closer to Highway 36, location for the new school was at the center of discussion throughout the year. Eventually, the board held a final vote in August that named the 56-acre site on Boones Creek Road and Highland Church Road the new official site for the school.

After funding had been set and the location had been decided, the BOE then voted on a project manager in a unanimous vote for Tom Burleson of Burleson Construction.

However, the layout wasn’t quickly approved for the project. Discussion on the size of the school and the possibility of cutting back on the number of classrooms and adding them back on at a later date took front and center at the BOE’s last meeting of the year.

If classrooms are to be added at a later date, an additional  40 percent would be added onto the cost.

The board also discussed cutting either a softball field, a baseball field, or the auxiliary gym from the new Boones Creek K-8 school layout.

During the Dec. 8 meeting, board member Keith Ervin mentioned that David Crockett High School didn’t have an auxiliary gym in relation to the new school’s plan which includes an auxiliary gym for K-8 students. But mention of high school athletic facilitates didn’t end at the board meeting.

Just a day before, Crockett’s head football coach Jeremy Bosken resigned, citing inadequate facilities among other reasons. Bosken is headed to Cleveland, Tennessee where he will act as offensive coordinator and where he will be closer to his mother and his brother who is the wrestling coach at Cleveland High School.
But proximity wasn’t his only reason for leaving; the athletic facilities at Crockett were a main component.

“It’s kinda been a controversial topic,” Bosken told the Herald & Tribune. “I’m glad it is, I really am. It was just something that I felt like kinda came to fruition over the past couple years.

“I felt like the best way to help these kids right now is to leave. And what I mean by that is, we’ve been trying to get air conditioning in the locker room and it hasn’t come. We’ve been trying to make improvements in the weight room and it’s been very little…and trying to get an auxiliary gym built…and when we’re pushing for these things, we’re not doing it to win more games.”

Though the BOE’s meetings have mostly revolved around the plans for the new Boones Creek School, board member Todd Ganger spoke to the Herald & Tribune in light of Bosken’s resignation.

Ganger said high school athletic facilities are a subject the board will need to assess.

“Granted, there is a huge need at Crockett for an auxiliary gym,” Ganger said. “And it’s been brought up and talked about—to add an auxiliary gym to a new school, it is an issue the board will have to look at. Is there a true need there? That’s just one of those things that the board, once we can get down to the nitty gritty to be at the new school or not to be at the new school, it’s something you have to really look at and focus at.”