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School board updated on new elementary

Community High wing underway

By ZOË HAGGARD - zhaggard@t-g.com
Posted 2/22/22

Tuesday’s school board meeting held much debate and discussion about Bedford County’s construction of the new elementary school and Community High School’s new wing.  

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School board updated on new elementary

Community High wing underway


Tuesday’s school board meeting held much debate and discussion about Bedford County’s construction of the new elementary school and Community High School’s new wing.  

The new elementary school will be located behind Marelli near the 437 Bypass. BCS’s communication coordinator Carol Garrette said access to the site will be from U.S. 231 as well as Fairfield Pike.  

Bedford County Board of Education purchased the 23-acre plot of land for $1 million, according to County Finance Director Robert Daniel.  

During the school board meeting, members were confused about the timeline and cost of the project. The County’s architect and new elementary school project manager, Kline-Swinney Associates, was unable to give a definite estimated cost for construction of the new facility.  

“Overall cost, I don’t know what to tell you about that. They’re high,” said Bart Kline.  

Board member Brian Crews asked if the board’s guaranteed maximum price of $25 million would be realistic for this new elementary school.  

Kline said it’s a goal to hit. “But what we’re seeing right now bid, that’s going to be hard,” Kline said. “Schools in Maury, Williamson, and Metro Nashville are as much as $30-$33 million. This is also amid increasing construction supply costs.”  

Kline-Swinney plans to complete contract documents by the end of February, while construction of the elementary school will start in April. The finished building will be 113,000 square feet and hold 800 students.  

Board member Diane Neeley said she was really concerned with that square footage. With 800 students, that leaves 142 square feet per child, she said.  

“Typically, in elementary, I thought we were down to 117. That really drives the cost of this. It seems to be driving higher.”  

Kline told the board how they need to design the core of the school for the end goal, that is, for the future influx of students. “It’s easy to add classrooms. It’s really hard to go add 2,000 square foot that’s central to a building.”  

For example, there is a prototype school in Rutherford County that Williamson County bid on, Kline explained. The price came in at $254 a square foot. This figure, however, did not include furniture fixtures and equipment (FFNE), information systems (IT), or architect fees.  

The design is in the “program phase,” where they hope to smooth out any potential extra costs, Kline said.  “So be careful when you hear a number and understand exactly what’s in it. That’s what this program phase will do,” Kline said.  

Water issues  

Community High School’s new wing will serve as the school’s primary career and technical education (CTE) wing, which will include programs like cosmetology and the new hospital simulated lab. The wing was scheduled in the initial building program over 10 years ago, but due to lack of funding, the second wing was delayed.  

This new west wing— which when facing the school, will be on the right side—will be slightly smaller than the east wing and hold 12 classrooms.  

One of the reasons the wing will be smaller is because of “water issues” from the subdivision near the high school, according to architect John Davis of Davis-Stokes Collaborative, who will oversee the construction.  

This is likely the last project Davis will oversee for a while for the school board as the County is now overseeing all such future building projects through its newly hired firm, Kline-Swinney of Nashville.  

Davis said of the water issue, “Everybody knows there’s some water issues in the subdivision close by. It’s mostly a challenge because of the 100 acres that drains across Unionville-Deason Road right into the front of this school and then has to exit the site through our detention. But we just felt like we didn’t need to add any more water to it.” 

Dry detentions temporarily store peak flows of water that come from something like post-construction outflow or storm water runoff, according to Tennessee’s Storm Water Management and Design Manual. Chuck Yoest, regional director for the Columbia Environmental Field Office of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, said the excess water runoff most likely comes from the hard, asphalt surfaces of the high school and the surrounding subdivision.  

Bedford County Utility District also performed a hydraulic analysis to make sure the school will have adequate potable water.  

Board member Glenn Forsee asked Davis what possible concerns he may see with this construction timeline. Davis said, “When I look at it, I don’t see that there’s anything beyond anybody’s control.”  

Davis said he hopes to get the septic tank pump installation by Tennessee Wastewater underway soon.  

“I did you the favor of putting it in the numbers,” Davis said. “I’ve always done it for the County, and I pushed, and they did it. That sort of changed now. I’m going to let someone else do that. I will help in any way I can, but they’ve got to push that along.”  

Davis said the estimated bid of construction will be$220 per square foot and cost around $4.9 million, which includes expansion of the sewer system needed to house the extra load of students.  

The new wing will allow Community to hold up to 1,000 students, according to Davis. Davis said teams are in the middle of design and have plans to end this phase in March.