If plans stay on pause, crowding at Williamson schools continues

If plans stay on pause, crowding at Williamson schools continues

Master plans drawn up to address age and overcrowding issues in several Williamson County schools will go before the County Commission in March.

Plans by architects from Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood for both Franklin and Brentwood high schools have sat in limbo so far without funding for construction. Plans for Page Middle and Page High School went before the community for the first time in February.

“We are going to work with the commission to get this in front of them one more time,” Superintendent Mike Looney said. “Ultimately, it’s their decision. I don’t think the commission is opposed to any of these plans. It’s a matter of the timeline for funding. In order to get these projects completed on time, we need them to say, ‘yes,’ in March.”

But if the commission says “no,” it will delay all of the projects for a year.

“We can’t really afford to wait any longer on any of those three projects,” Looney said. “All three of those schools are at overcapacity, and they are in need of upgrades and expansions.”

For Franklin High School, which is at 110 percent of its capacity, the cost comes in at around $9 million. Part of the plan calls for the acquisition of the former Columbia State Community College campus just north of Franklin High.

Plans for the Brentwood campus involve both the side-by-side middle and high school campuses. Starting at $19 million, plans for Brentwood include everything from a new STEM center to more fan capacity inside the football stadium. Each school currently exceeds its capacity.

Sketches and ideas for Page Middle and High School show a much higher price tag than either Franklin or Brentwood. Page Middle sits in the most dire need, with its students dealing with 117 percent capacity Architects estimate that it will take $6.2 million to bring Page Middle up to date. 

Meanwhile, options for Page High School run around the $30 million range.

Without implementation of these master plans, Looney said that leaves the district with only one option.

“It would mean more portables,” he said.

The Williamson County Commission meet March 13.

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