March 14, 2017
by Melanie Balakit
The Williamson County commission approved $15 million for a new Brentwood elementary school Monday night.
With the approved intent-to-fund resolution, the school will be on track to open on Split Log Road in fall 2018.
The new school will help alleviate neighboring overcrowded schools like Kenrose Elementary School.
At times, funding for the school faced an uphill battle.
Some county commissioners wanted to defer the funding request until May as the county drafts projections on how school capital projects will impact county debt. The county commission does not meet in April.
Williamson County school officials stressed the urgency of the project.
The district needed to have an intent-to-fund resolution to solicit bids from construction companies by April 27. Without approval, the school would not be able to open in fall 2018; deferral would also impact the district’s upcoming rezoning plans.
“We would be so overcrowded at some of our schools, Kenrose (Elementary) being one of them, where we literally don’t have enough landmass for more portables,” said Williamson County Director of Schools Mike Looney.
The commission voted 20-1 to approve the intent-to-fund resolution. Commissioner Brandon Ryan was the only dissenting vote.
“It seems prudent to me to wait until the schools rezone,” Ryan said in an interview.
“After the schools rezone we can take a look at where the most pressing needs are and fund them,” he said. “It may still require a tax increase. And I would be okay with that if we went through a prudent approach.”
The school district will present a rezoning plan at a school board work session Thursday.
An elementary school and middle school are planned for the Split Log Road property.
With a rising population — the school district expects its student population to nearly double in 10 years — the commission can expect more school project requests, Looney said.
Franklin High School
The commission approved a $1.5 million request to renovate a former Columbia State Community College campus. The building will provide 300 additional classroom seats this fall for Franklin High School.
$379,190 for 40 special education teaching assistants.
$1.45 million for 17 school buses.
$3.8 million for additions at College Grove Elementary School and Scales Elementary School.
The commission deferred these requests to May.
$4.9 million for design and initial site work for a central high school, middle school and elementary school.
$17.2 million for Brentwood High School renovations.
$6.8 million for final phase of auditoriums at Grassland Middle and Sunset Middle.