Joint meeting to address school construction

Xavier Smith • Jan 9, 2018 at 4:30 PM

The Wilson County Commission will meet with the Wilson County Board of Education next week to discuss Wilson County Schools building construction.

The meeting will take place Jan. 17 at 5 p.m. in commission chambers at the Wilson County Courthouse.
The commission approved $1.55 million last year for Wilson County Schools to conduct design services for a potential new high school in Mt. Juliet.

The group also amended the resolution to require the district to put the project out for bid before it approves funds for construction. The design authorization does not signify the groups’ commitment to spend $110 million for a new high school, which is the estimated cost. 

The Budget Committee took no action last year on the district’s needs assessment list, which included a proposed $110 million new high school in Mt. Juliet on property adjacent to W.A. Wright Elementary School.

Wilson County finance director Aaron Maynard said it would cost an additional 12-18 cents on the property tax rate to fund a new high school in Mt. Juliet, unless a new funding source is found, dependent upon how the debt payment is structured.

Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto said the county was on schedule with the district’s building plan, introduced two years ago, and the $1.5 million commitment would keep the county on par with the plans if the commission agrees to fund the Mt. Juliet high school in the first half of this year.

Hutto said he would bring information with details about the estimated $110 million price tag to commissioners this month, followed by presentations in February and March on possible funding mechanisms through potential tax increases from various sources.

“In May, you would know everything and can sit down and talk about them and make a decision. At that time, they would be done with the design phase, and it would be able to go out to bid,” Hutto said last year.

The timeline would leave about 26 months for construction before the targeted opening in 2020.

The district will hold a work session Feb. 1 to create a new capital outlay plan. Wilson County Schools spokesperson Jennifer Johnson said the plan would be designed to accommodate the projected rapid growth in Wilson County.

Johnson said the district’s current capital outlay plan would be finished with the completion of a future Mt. Juliet high school on North Green Hill Road.

Wilson County Planning Office director Tom Brashear said last year projections show the county’s population would increase from the 2015 estimated population of 131,060 to at or near 222,490 people by 2040.

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