Williamson County Schools’ need for new schools and expansion gets most of the headlines, but Maury County Schools is also dealing with space needs.
Last week it took a step toward addressing the over-capacity at Marvin Wright Elementary School in south Spring Hill.
The MCS Board at a Special-Called Meeting passed by a 6-5 vote an expansion project at a cost of no more than $5,996,224. That budget, from a district capital outlay account, includes bids for construction and the fees for designer Hewlett Spencer, LLC.
The project adds space for 220 students, and includes 10 new classrooms, a larger cafeteria and more bathrooms.
Currently, the school is 27 students over its recommended capacity of 600. The resolution was deferred at the December board meeting.
Chairman David Moore and Vice Chairman David Bates were two of the dissenting votes.
Bates said the district could dip into the $20 million needed for necessary repairs across the school district 23 facilities.
“That is going to divert our attention from the real solution,” Bates said in December. “This addition is diverting much-needed resources. We have multiple needs that we need to look at. These repairs are something that we don’t need five years down the road; it is something that needs to be done now. We are diverting resources to things that needed to be done yesterday. We are diverting from buckling down and finding real solutions for the Spring Hill area.”
Moore also disagreed with the board’s action.
“I think this is the wrong course of action,” Moore said. “Not only on the addition side of this but it is not appropriate to go into the [money set aside for school maintenance] to fund this.”
There is $16 million set aside for maintenance and repairs, and the resolution takes about 36 percent of that and uses it for the addition.
“We have a growth issue and a maintenance issue … and I don’t want to rob from Peter to pay Paul,” Kristin Parker, District 1, said.
The resolution comes on the heels of news in December that the district was contracting to buy land in Spring Hill for a new school. The 242-acre plat at 3451 Mahlon Moore Road, in southeast Spring Hill, will lead to an on-site elementary school within the next two years, and after that a new high and middle school.
“The most positive aspect of the land purchase I would have to say is to finally have a chance to potentially get ahead of the growth we are seeing in the northern part of the county,” Moore, Zoning and Facilities Chairman and board member District 5, said.