The Lebanon Special School District's newest facility is going to cost nearly twice as much as the last school the district built.

"Winfree Bryant (Middle School) was completed in 2010 and that's our newest school right now. The budget for that was $16 million," said district Director Scott Benson. "The construction and architecture budget for Jones Brummett is approximately $30 million."

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Benson attributed the higher cost to inflation and to the demand for materials and labor in Middle Tennessee because of the growth the region is experiencing.

The budget does not include the furniture, technology and other necessities that the school will need to open.

Site preparation began in mid-September for the school, which will be called Jones Brummett Elementary.

Construction is set to finish in the spring 2021. The school is expected to open for the 2021-22 school year and accommodate around 800 pre-K through fifth-grade students.

"This will give us the summer months to get furniture moved in so we can have everything completed before school starts in August 2021," Benson said.

LSSD will rezone students and teachers at existing elementary schools for the 2021-22 school year.

"Our current schools all have between 650-700 students," Benson said. "We'll take some from each existing school, which will open up a little space at each school."

The district will begin looking to hire a principal in the fall 2020 and expect to name a principal by January 2021.

"After we've hired a principal, we'll look at our zoning a bit more and get a concrete number on how many students we'll have at each school," Benson said.

"Middle Tennessee is bursting at the seams, so opening a new school is in everyone's best interest," said Beth Petty, the family resource center director for LSSD.

LSSD currently has two middle schools and four elementary schools, with a total enrollment hovering around 4,000 students.

The Tennessee Department of Education requires that the student to teacher ratios remain at no more than 20 students for kindergarten through third-grade classes and no more than 25 students for fourth- through sixth-grade classes.

"We're below that student to teacher ratio everywhere right now," Benson said. "But the new elementary school can make sure that continues."

LSSD will be hosting an official groundbreaking for Jones Brummett on Oct. 23 at 4 p.m.. The school is located on the southeast corner of the Hartmann Drive and Coles Ferry Pike intersection. The event is open to the public.

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