The $20-million renovation project transformed the old Lebanon High School building on Harding Drive into the district’s central office, which will bring nearly every department within the Wilson County school system under one roof for the first time.
District officials expressed the need for a new central office after district growth caused cramped conditions at the Stumpy Lane central office, as well as increased concerns about the safety of district employees and valuable information and records housed in various locations throughout the county.
Classes moved to the new Lebanon High School on South Hartmann Drive in fall 2012. Around the same time, there were discussions to turn the Harding Drive facility into East Lebanon Middle School, which ultimately failed due, in part, to mold and asbestos questions and the deteriorated conditions of utilities around and within the building.
Wilson County Schools officials began to study the proposal of centralizing school departments in 2013, which ultimately came to fruition Sunday.
The new Wilson County Schools Administration and Training Complex houses the Wilson County Adult High School, TVOLS, conference and training areas, extended-school program, textbook storage and more.
Guests enter the facility at the school’s former breezeway area, which is now a secured, visitor access lobby.
The visitor access areas include the Maj. David Wilson Theater, which will be available for community use in the future, and will likely be the site for future district community meetings.
The theatre has the capacity to hold 800 people.
The former agriculture and criminal justice wing of the school adjacent to the theatre, which is closed to visitors, features space for the Wilson County Election Commission and houses a conference training center, health services, a school resource officer and safety director Steve Spencer.
Spencer discussed his office, which could transform into a briefing room and command center in the event of an emergency. Spencer has access to every camera in Wilson County schools and the ability to communicate with law enforcement officials and update them on situations in real-time from his office.
The school resource officer will also be trained on the technology and able to communicate with law and school officials, as well.
On the same hallway, visitors have access to the attendance and TVOLS office, as well as the former library, which is now the district’s school board meeting room.
The room has more space for guests during board meetings, which was an ongoing complaint for visitors. The new board meting room, similar to other portions of the building, is spacious and allows more room for performances that typically happen at the beginning of board meetings.
The former English hallway, which made up the right side of the “T,” houses food services and conference and training rooms. The former history wing, which makes up the opposite side of the “T,” houses the Wilson County Adult High School and substitute services, while the former math circle houses the adult basic education program.
Wilson County Adult High School principal Mary Ashby called the old Lebanon High School home for 33 years and said she was impressed with how the renovation gave the facility new life, while preserving characteristics of the building that many people grew to love during their time at the school.
The former gym and wrestling areas will be used for storage of records and files previously stored throughout Wilson County. The cafeteria area will be used for training and employees, who can purchase meals from the cafeteria.