School Board Considers Five Proposals to Expand Facilities
November 7, 2019
The Clarksville-Montgomery County School Board reviewed five proposals to partially address an ever-growing student population during its Nov. 5 Study Session.
Chief Operations Officer Jim Sumrell presented the Board members with a report on the school system’s current state of building capacity and recommendations for them to consider during their voting session on Nov. 12.
“We’ve been sharing consistent and factual data for four and a half years. These numbers are not fictitious. They are not made up. They are numbers we report to the state every 20 days,” Sumrell said when pointing to the staggering increase of students. “This presentation wasn’t a surprise to the Board members, or to the County Commission,” he added.
The proposals, which take the form of formal resolutions, go before the School Board on Nov. 12 for a vote. Once passed by the Board, the Montgomery County Budget Committee would then review the resolutions forwarding them for presentation to the entire County Commission on Dec. 2 and a formal vote on Dec. 9.
Included in the resolutions are:
- A $4.3 million, 12-classroom addition at RossviewElementary School. The County Commission already appropriated architect fees for this project, adding 12 classrooms to the school, which is currently at 124 percent of its capacity.
- A $300,000 renovation of the former New Providence Elementary School, which has been leased to a retired teacher and former county commissioner for use first as a Head Start, then as a community building. Due to state-mandated requirements for alternative education, the Adult program that has operated at Greenwood Complex for more than two decades would be relocated to this building.
- A $4 million purchase and renovation of the Emmanuel Family Life Center at 303 Fairview Lane for the new location of the CMCSS Spanish Immersion Program, now located at Barksdale Elementary. The program, which started with two kindergarten classes in 2018, will grow to 12 classrooms by 2023.
- A $130,000 design fee to expand West Creek Elementary School with 12 additional classrooms. The school currently uses six portable classrooms and is in need of additional classrooms to provide a capacity for 1,040 students. The design selected for this project would be similar to the one for Barkers Mill Elementary’s expansion.
- A $155,000 architect fee for a 12-classroom addition to Oakland Elementary School, which is now at 114 percent of its capacity with six portable classrooms located at the site. The design selected for this project would be similar to the one for Rossview Elementary’sexpansion.
Sumrell explained that the Operations Department does a “break-even analysis so we know what the capacity is in any school zone and what the growth trajectory is. We then look at the past growth trends in that building and project for the future. We develop our building plan from that.”
He went on to explain that in the early 1980s, CMCSS student enrollment was trending flat, but in 1985, it began a fast-paced upward trajectory. Over the past 34 years, the growth averaged about 665 students a year, but in looking at more recent years, that average has increased to more than 1,000 students a year. “There is nothing about that data that would tell us to stop building,” Sumrell said. The last school the County Commission approved was Oakland Elementary, which opened in 2015.
School officials have requested funds from county government for the past four years to build an eighth middle school. All seven middle schools are over capacity with 33 portable classrooms serving to alleviate overcrowding. Currently, CMCSS has a total of 107portable classrooms located across the system. “There is nothing more that we can do to fix that without a new middle school,” Sumrell stated, adding that middle school expansions have already been built and additional expansions are not an option. The original middle schools were built for 1,200 students. The expansions are built to serve 1,500, allowing for adequate needs for restrooms, cafeteria and ancillary space. Rossview Middle School has the largest student body of 1,486.
The County is exploring a way to fast track a “design, build, delivery” model with property not yet purchased along Rossview Road. “We want to open our eighth middle school in August 2022. With the delivery methods being discussed, they may find a way to make that happen. It’s our last best hope to get a middle school in 2022. If it doesn’t work out, it’ll be 2023,” Sumrell said.
Here is a link to Chief Operations Officer Jim Sumrell’s presentation to the School Board: