THE HUNTER REPORT
BOE, CAPITAL PROJECTS & BUDGET COMMITTEE JUMP THROUGH HOOP
APPROVE $500,000 NEW FIELD HOUSE FOR GREENBACK SCHOOL
BY: PAT HUNTER
At the July 30, 2013 Special Called Loudon County Board of Education meeting held at the new Fort Loudoun Middle School, school building consultant/ Monroe County Maintenance Director Charlie Underwood distributed a sketch of the proposed Greenback Field House to the school board, director Vance and staff but not to the public (taxpayers who must foot the bills for the $43 Million school building program).
GREENBACK FIELD HOUSE DRAWING IS HANDED OUT TO SCHOOL BOARD, DIRECTOR & STAFF BUT NOT PUBLIC
CLICK TO SEE PROPOSED GREENBACK FIELD HOUSE PLAN 7-30-2013 pdf
As a result, I followed up with a public records request to see the field house sketch, FLM punch list (to-do items to complete the construction contract), and budget amendment fund-balance sheet but it would take a complaint to the Tennessee Comptroller's Office of Open Records to pry loose these public records from director Jason Vance. In a strange twist of fate, I received a request on Dec. 19th from director Vance's office for a copy of the Greenback field house drawing, the same sketch that was withheld from me for 3-weeks. Unlike, the school director and school board, I scanned the field house drawing and sent it that same day. I'm sharing this story with you because I feel that 'Two wrongs don't make one right." The lack of transparency and keeping the public in the dark by some in county government and school board is both alarming, and bothersome.
Back to the story about the proposed Greenback field house (athletic facility), the plans (see picture above) include: a practice gym equal to 1/2 gym, eight (8) coach offices, 70- seat film-room, training room, equipment room, lockers, bathrooms, sinks, and showers. The estimate cost for the new field house $500,000. When the school board originally began discussion for a new field house in Greenback the preliminary estimates were $300,000.
At the December 12, 2013 BOE meeting, the school board voted to move forward with the field house (athletic facility) in Greenback and to make it a number one priority, and Director Vance would convey the board's wishes to Loudon County Commission. In a previous discussion held at the BOE workshop, director Vance and school board felt an urgency to move forward and to build the field house as soon as possible because of spring practice and the football season being around the corner.
Subsequently, Director Vance met with the Capital Projects Committee (CPC) on December 16, 2013. The CPC is comprised of Commissioners Steve Harrelson (Chairman), Rosemary Quillen, Harold Duff, and Brian Jenkins who unanimously approved the $500,000 field house request recommendation to the Budget Committee comprised of Chair County Mayor Estelle Herron, and Commissioners Bob Franke, and Roy Bledsoe.
Director Vance made his pitch for the new field house to the Budget Committee which was easily approved. He requested that the $500,000 come from the $43 Million school building fund. Budget Director Tracy Blair questioned whether the funds could come from account #156 (Rural Fund Debt) since that was supposed to be used to retire debt, but she would look into the matter.
The Loudon County Board of Education, County Commission Capital Projects Committee, and County Commission Budget Committee easily approved spending $500,000 taxpayer money without looking for other less costly options, or examining all the fine details of a 'Don't spare any expense' field house; and that is the way how the elected officials in our county routinely spend our hard earned money!
|PROPOSED FIELD HOUSE (ATHLETIC FACILITY): Practice Gym equal to 1/2 gym, Eight (8) Coaches Offices, 70- seat Film-Room, Training Room, Equipment Room, Lockers, Bathrooms, Sinks, and Showers. Estimate cost: $500,000.|
CLICK RELATED ARTICLE - SCHOOL BOARD DROPS BALL - SAFETY - TURN LANES at NEW FT. LOUDOUN MIDDLE SCHOOL