Wilson County Schools’ director took plans for future expansion to the county commission’s education committee Thursday.
“Wilson County schools are growing, growing, growing, and just since last year we’ve increased 650 students in enrollment,” Setterlund said. “The time is going to come and we’re going to have to start to talk about more classroom space.”
Setterlund presented a four-phase plan, but concentrated mostly on phase one, which he said he hoped to have completed as early as Aug. 2015.
Phase one of the board’s plans includes converting the newest building at the old Lebanon High School campus to additional space for the Central Office. The remaining campus of the school would most likely be demolished.
Setterlund said the board also looked to convert Southside Elementary School to a middle school and to purchase land for a new elementary school in the south central area.
Setterlund said a property near where the Board of Education is now would be ideal for a south-central elementary school, but it would all depend on property availability and price.
The issue of the number of portables at schools, especially at Carroll Oakland, also raised questions.
“Portables are going to be a reality in Wilson County for the next 15 to 20 years,” Setterlund said. “But they create a buffer between our ability to build and the increasing number of students.
“But the number of portables at Carroll Oakland right now is more than we’d like to see,” Setterlund said.
He said he’d ideally like to see phase one completed by fall of 2015.
“If it doesn’t happen by then we’ll have serious issues at Carroll Oakland because of the rate they’re growing,” Setterlund said. “If not, we’d possibly have to rezone, even if it’s temporary, and I know people won’t like to hear that.”
Setterlund said the immediate need for phase one would be $20 million.
“Nothing on this proposed list is a want; it’s all needs,” Setterlund said. “If, financially, things aren’t possible, we as a board need to know to start making other plans. That’s why I wanted to have these talks.”
The conversation was strictly for talk only and to keep the county and school system in the same loop, according to Setterlund, and to create a “partnership” with the county.
Phase two of the plan would call for purchasing land for five new schools: a west area elementary school, a southwest area middle school, a central area elementary school, a central area middle school and a central area high school.
Phase three, which Setterlund said ideally had a completion date of Aug. 2016, would be to construct a west-area elementary school, southwest-area middle school and central-area elementary school.
The final phase would consist of constructing a central area middle and high school.