By BROOKE WANSER
Lack of parking, poor air quality, and classes being held in portables at Fred J. Page High School and Page Middle School were a few of the issues mentioned Monday night before Williamson County Board of Commissioners voted to approve $15.5 million in funding to the school for Phase One of their improvement plan.
Teachers, students and their parents filled the room to speak up on issues of school overcrowding.
“Last year, my AP Psychology class was taught in a garage,” said Steven Kevorkian, a senior at Page. “Page High School has everything it needs to be a fantastic place for students to learn and grow, as long as the facilities are allowed to grow with it.”
Natalie Dinkins, also a senior, pointed out that Page’s traditionally small size was no reason to overlook the burgeoning student population. “We’re meant for such a smaller population than we already have.” She said the school’s cafeteria was past the maximum capacity of 450 students, with 1,200 in the total student population.
“I don’t mean to complain or suggest that I don’t love my school, because I do,” Dinkins said, voicing her appreciation for her classmates and teachers. “But because I love them so much, I feel as though they deserve more,” she finished. “They deserve improvement from a building that was built in the ’70s.”
“You are exemplary students, and your parents ought to be proud of you, and the teachers and administration, as some of the products of our county,” said County Commissioner Thomas Little, thanking those who spoke.
Williamson County Schools Superintendent Dr. Mike Looney gave a report on the Williamson County School enrollment before speaking to the funding issue: “I appreciate everybody speaking tonight on this very important topic of how we’ll handle growth. We’ve calculated, we’ve crunched numbers, we’ve shown graphs,” said Looney, who admitted he was present in spite of his back being broken in two places. “There’s nothing else to talk about, let’s get this done.”
Commissioner Betsy Hester said her two children went to Page middle and high schools, and agreed that not much had changed since their graduation.
“We cannot continue to have this overcrowding and our problems with the sewer,” she said prior to the final vote.
All 23 commissioners voted to fund the school improvements, to much applause and shouts of joy.
The first phase of improvements includes parking lot expansion and road improvements, fixing sewer problems, a 30-classroom addition to the middle school and upgrades to the track and football fields.