After years of floating around on five-year capital plans for Limestone County Schools, a new campus for Elkmont Elementary is finally at the top of the list, one of several long-awaited projects that could take place in fiscal year 2021.
The Limestone County Board of Education approved its latest five-year wish list of projects during Monday's meeting, which also served as an opportunity for a second hearing and approval of the district's budget. In a work session before the meeting, LCS Superintendent Randy Shearouse discussed details of each project with board members.
For Elkmont Elementary, the estimated cost has been dropped from $20 million on previous plans to $15 million for FY 2021. Shearouse said there were two cost estimates obtained, one for $12 million and the other for $18 million, and the plan splits the difference.
However, when asked by board members about what that $15 million covers, Shearouse acknowledged $15 million was meant to cover the brick-and-mortar building, not anything needed to furnish it. He said the size of the school would depend on the architect they choose for the project and how many students are expected to attend.
Currently, Elkmont Elementary is housed on the same campus as Elkmont High but with a separate entrance near the high school's gymnasium. In 2016, it was approved as part of the FY 2017 plan to be built in 2019, then moved to 2022 for the FY 2018 plan, 2023 for the FY 2019 plan and 2024 for the FY 2020 plan.
Other 2021 projects
Elkmont Elementary isn't the only long-awaited project moving up the list. An administrative addition to Tanner Elementary has also shifted around the district's plans for at least the last five years, with cost estimates ranging from $450,000 in FY 2017 for the addition to $1 million for the addition and general renovations in FY 2021.
Shearouse specifically noted Tanner Elementary's media center being in a mobile unit, saying it would be nice to get the center back into the school building.
About $1.5 million in renovations are also marked for West Limestone High, including renovations to the school's bathrooms. Roofing projects totaling $1.25 million are on the list for portions of the Limestone County Career Tech Center, Tanner High and the former site of Owens Elementary.
Finally, the plan calls for access controls at exterior doors across the district, which brings the overall estimated cost of projects in 2021 to $19.25 million.
"This is a realistic plan we could follow, based on the state funding — the bond, which is a little more than $13 million — and because of what good shape we're in financially locally," Shearouse said. "We're able to put away $3 million per year (locally), we believe at this time, for capital improvements."
He said putting $3 million each year will cover the rest of the projects on the five-year list.
The 2022 portion of the list totals just more than $2 million. It includes replacing bleachers in the old gyms at Ardmore and East Limestone high schools, roofing for a portion of the tech center and asphalt or seal and stripe projects at various school parking lots.
There is also $1.2 million set aside for land acquisition, though board members discussed the possibility of purchasing land at a different time if they believed it was a better opportunity for the district.
In 2023, LCS aims to renovate the front entrance for Tanner High at an estimated cost of $250,000, spend about $400,000 on multiple roofing projects and spend $50,000 building a new baseball locker room for Ardmore High.
A $2.2-million band room for East Limestone High rounds out the list, which totals $2.9 million.
The big ticket item in 2024 is a classroom addition for Johnson Elementary, with an estimated price tag of $3 million. Other projects include painting and parking lot improvements at an additional estimated cost of $150,000, bringing the total to $3.15 million.
Finally, 2025 could be the year that the tech center sees an expansion. LCS has estimated adding classroom space to LCCTC will run $1.2 million, with another $50,000 in painting touchups on the list for the district.
In other business during the Sept. 10 and 14 meetings, board members approved the following:
• Renewal of Intrado SchoolMessenger Notification Service contract and Elkmont High's agreement with Intrado for SchoolMessenger App;
• Inside Algebra and TransMath Levels 1, 2 and 3 as math intervention for secondary students;
• Purchase of 30 school buses;
• Memorandums of agreement between the state department of education and LCBOE related to reading specialist travel expenditures and allowable expenses under the Education Health and Wellness Grant;
• 2020-2021 salary schedule;
• Kronos Equipment Support Services contract for one year; and
• FY 2021 budget.
Visit bit.ly/LCBOEagenda for the complete agenda of each meeting, including a detailed list of approved personnel actions.