County schools, tourism looking to grow

Wilson County held a plethora of committee meetings Thursday, totaling seven.
Oct 10, 2013

Wilson County held a plethora of committee meetings Thursday, totaling seven.

In the Budget Committee meeting, Director of Schools Tim Setterlund sat down with the committee “to have a conversation” about the possibility of adding several schools to the district in the coming years.

In Setterlund’s construction schedule and plan, phase one has the nearest completion time, proposing to be done by Aug. 1, 2015.

In this phase, the newest building in the old Lebanon High School campus would be converted to Central Office space, and the older parts would be demolished and/or transferred to Cumberland University.

Other steps in phase one would be converting Southside Elementary to a middle school, purchasing land and building a new elementary school in the south-central area and purchasing land for five potential new schools.

The five new schools would be a western-area elementary school near Mt. Juliet, a southwestern-area middle school near Gladeville and a central-area elementary, middle and high school near Highway 109 and possibly Highway 70.

In phases two and three, these five schools are then mapped out in construction phases to have done before Aug. 1, 2016 in phase two and Aug. 1, 2017 in phase three.

“It’s no secret we’re in a growing county,” Setterlund said. “And I think, as enrollment has increased this year, it will only continue to do so. We’re pretty slammed in enrollment in some areas already.”

Commissioner Mike Justice said he thought the schools should do what was initially planned and build on to schools like Tuckers Crossroads and Carroll Oakland.

“People are still waiting on that,” Justice said.

Setterlund said since he’s been with Wilson County he hasn’t had such a plan.

“I know we have some unique challenges, but I plan on going to some of these communities and having those conversations with them about this,” Setterlund said. “I just want to present what I believe will be the very best option for children.”

Setterlund also made it clear the schools had the most desperate need for elementary classroom space and he also believed they should put the old Lebanon High School property to rest.

“It’s a nuisance to the community right now; doors are wide open and kids are running through it,” Setterlund said.

Regardless, Setterlund said he felt the county would have to continue to build schools in the future to accommodate the growing population.

The Development and Tourism Committee also met Thursday, where they presented a job description for a single job they look to add to the department.

The department hopes to hire one person, a CVB manager, to work in the Mayor’s office and do work to help grow the county and tourism.

The committee later asked the Budget Committee for $99,000 to hire someone for the position, with the remaining money being left over for its budget.

Justice said he thought the job description looked great and this would give the county some accountability for that department.

“I believe if they sell one good size event they’ll pay for themselves,” Justice said.

The Budget Committee then passed a motion that would allot the $99,000 to the Tourism Department.

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