MNPS officials push for $95M in capital improvements for school district

Monday, June 10, 2013 at 3:22pm

School district officials in Metro Nashville are expecting taxpayers to fund a capital-spending plan a little more than half the size the school district asked for.

The Metro Council is set to vote Tuesday on a $300 million spending plan for infrastructure projects throughout Davidson County, including $95 million for improvements on buildings and systems within the school district.

“It’s no secret that we have capital needs,” said Joe Bass, a Metro Nashville Public Schools spokesman, after walking reporters through rooms now under renovation at Antioch Middle School Monday. “We meet those capital needs as we’re able, as the taxpayers of Nashville are able to support us.”

Beginning in July, MNPS expects to build one new school, replace another and install additions onto four other schools.

The district also plans to spend more than $36 million on district-wide projects upgrading technology and security.

With a district home to some 180 buildings averaging 42 years old, the Metro school board members asked the mayor for $159 million in capital projects. The mayor then reduced the spending plan to $95 million.

The money for school infrastructure projects makes up almost a third of proposed Metro capital budget for the year.

The current plan includes building a new elementary school in Antioch to serve 800 students; renovating Waverly Belmont Junior High as an elementary school for 600 students; adding 12 classrooms at Granbery Elementary, Madison Middle, Maxwell Elementary and Shayne Elementary; replacing Goodlettsville Middle School for a new capacity of 800 students; and making improvements at Julia Green Elementary and McGavock High School.

Other projects include replacing busses, and upgrades to systems handling heating and air conditioning, plumbing, roof, security, lighting and technology.

The plans puts on hold for at least the next year 12 new classrooms at Glencliff Elementary and eight new classrooms at a renovation at Pennington Elementary; renovations at Hume-Fogg Magnet High School, Murrell School, and Rosebank Elementary; and replacing Tusculum Elementary School fit for 800 students.

Current projects already underway in the planning or construction phases using dollars from the current budget year include renovations and updates to Stratford STEM Magnet High School, a new gymnasium at Hume-Fogg Magnet High School; renovations at Antioch Middle, Joelton Middle and Rose Park Middle; 12 new classrooms at Oliver Middle; 10 new classrooms at A.Z. Kelley Elementary; new classrooms at John Early Middle and renovation work at Norman Binkley Elementary.