The need to move both groups became a reality after damage from the April 27 tornadoes. Director of Schools Johnny McDaniel has been in talks with landowner Fred Clayton about the school system purchasing a piece of his property on Blue Springs Road. The board had asked McDaniel to begin negotiations, but it wanted to tour the land before a final decision was made. School system officials say the land could be purchased for $13,000 an acre.
“I think it’s beautiful,” board member Christy Critchfield said.
The property is 20.5 acres located just past Freedom Fellowship Church.
“We know it’s good property and it’s ideal for our school,” board chairman Troy Weathers said.
A proposed plan for the site includes two entrances to the school, one from Blue Springs Road and the other from Old Federal Road S.E.
The proximity of the property to APD 40 was a factor the board liked about the site. McDaniel said it would also be good to have one less school with a sewage treatment plant. Rebuilding the school on an alternative site also eliminates the need for portable classrooms.
The board decided in meetings after the storm not to rebuild the school on the current site. Insurance money from the damaged school will be used toward the purchase of land or construction of the new school.
A final decision on the land will be made by the school board at its Thursday meeting.
The board also looked at a new building for the technology department. The April storms damaged the 1,500-square-foot portable office the department had been housed in due to a lack of space at the central office.
Scott Humberd, director of technology for Bradley County schools, said the current location has served the school system well, but the damage makes it a good time to move on.
The board toured a 6,000-square-foot building on Smith Drive S.W. as a possible technology department location. Humberd said the two-story facility would also provide enough space for the school psychologists to move out of the central office. Critchfield said the location was good because it was close to the central office.
Humberd said he saw the location’s potential as soon as he entered the building. The school system has been looking for an alternative location for the technology staff for approximately 2 1/2 months, according to Humberd.
This building would also provide the technology department with room for a workshop and training facility. Currently the only way teachers can get technology training is by using one of the student labs. Another perk to the building is that it’s already wired for networking. The building also stands apart from other potential locations the system has looked at because it was not in need of structural repairs to fit the department’s needs.
The only concern the board expressed was parking. However, because it is close to the central office if parking was an issue during teacher training, the teachers could park at the central office and use the school system’s vans to be shuttled to the office.
Board member Vicki Beaty asked if moving the two departments would free up any storage at the central office. McDaniel said this was one of the goals with the move.
Board member Rodney Dillard asked about potential recurring costs with the building. McDaniel and Humberd said they did not think it would be a problem.
A final decision will be made by the board at Thursday’s meeting.