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School system seals land deal
Nov 09, 2005 12:00 am
November 7, 2005
The Wilson County School System officially owns a 55 acre tract of land designated for the new Mt. Juliet High School with a signed, sealed contract in hand which fasttracks January groundbreakings on a trio of cross county school construction projects.
The school system closed the deal Nov. 2, ending a tedious yearlong process to find a home for the new secondary institution needed because of West Wilson's rampant residential growth. The purchase price of the parcel located on Curd Road near Stone Hollow subdivision was $1.65 million
Deputy Director of Schools Mickey Hall and other top level school officials noted the ball will now roll on multiple building projects geared to expand the system to accommodate school enrollment numbers that have increased at a rapid fire rate, across the county.
The system plans to begin not only construction of the new high school in West Wilson, but also capital building projects designated at Watertown Elementary and Wilson Central High School.
"The closure on the land for the new high school is a giant step," Hall said Friday afternoon. "It gives folks a chance to see the ground start to move. We will soon see brick and mortar on these projects, simultaneously."
Psyched system officials said the clinched deal propels these vital capital building plans scheduled cross county – west, middle and east.
"It's a very big relief, a weight off our shoulders," Hall said of the signed land contract. "It has been a tedious process and the property is finally secured. Now we can move forward with building the school, along with our other school projects."
At present, all three construction projects are "on the street," Hall said.
"We are accepting bids right now and hope to take the best offers to the Wilson County school board Dec. 5," Hall said. "Our hopes are to get approval at the board, education and finance levels and then on to full County Commission, all in December"
Hall said the process demands the Public Building Authority's blessing as well.
If things go as planned, the new Watertown Elementary facility and the Wilson Central High School addition will be complete and open Fall 2007. Current projections slate the new Mt. Juliet High to be open for students Fall 2008.
Putting all three projects out for bid at the same time is a tactic geared to give the system "tremendous" savings on all three projects, Hall said.
"We hope we will get volume discounts through the contractors this way," Hall noted. "If someone bids all three they might get better prices for the job."
The Watertown Elementary project encompasses a free-standing new school on the current campus. It will house kindergarten through third-grade students. Moving the students to the new building will allow the system to shuffle grades seventh and eighth out of Watertown High School to the elementary campus. The revamp will free up room for an additional 200 students at Watertown High. School documents reveal the new structure will bring an additional 52,000 square feet to the campus.
While work in Watertown commences, dirt will be moving at Wilson Central High School as well. Just open four years, the school is already over capacity by several hundred students. A 75,000-square-foot addition is planned that will boost the building's capacity to 2,000 students. Parking spaces will also be added as well as football stadium lights and new baseball, softball and football fields.
And in Mt. Juliet, the massive high school building project will begin in January, as well. The addition of a new secondary high school facility will allow the old high school to be transformed to a middle school, with the middle school building freed up for an additional elementary school. The new secondary facility will be three stories and 291,000 square feet. There will be 1,150 parking spaces and a 3,000 seat football stadium with field house. The campus will incorporate baseball, softballs, football and track fields.
School officials will soon begin discussions on how to transition the old middle school facility to an elementary school. Plans are to open the additional elementary Fall 2009. All these plans are contigent on full approval by the County Commission.
Mt. Juliet Managing Editor Laurie Everett can be reached 754-6397 or by e-mail at email@example.com.