Banner Staff Writer
A Bradley County Board of Education committee continued discussion Thursday of how insurance money, which would have been used for code upgrades at Blue Springs Elementary School, should be used.
Bradley Central High School, Goal Academy and Lake Forest Middle School were listed as possibilities.
Requests to simply make code upgrades in an existing school with the money have been denied by the insurance company.
Business office manager Rick Smith said it is his understanding the money could only be used as part of new construction.
Board member Christy Critchfield said the money should be used at Lake Forest Middle School because that is where the majority of former Blue Springs Elementary students are now.
She suggested using the funds toward expanding the auditorium.
“There has been talk about the auditorium. A lot of parents don’t think the auditorium is safe,” Critchfield said. “We really need to expand the foyer, and give them some more area in there to get to restrooms and make it handicap accessible.”
Board member Nicholas Lillios asked if the money could be used on actual construction costs or if it could only be used for code-related aspects of the project, such as a sprinkler system.
Smith said the insurance company can be consulted.
“I believe there is something at Lake Forest that we could do. That’s where their children are right now ,” Critchfield said. “Their children are either at Lake Forest or Waterville.”
She added there are some who are at Bradley Central High School.
Either way, a project would require additional funding from the board.
Smith was unsure if an expansion would be approved by the insurance company.
“I would really like to have all those options exhausted and in writing ... [and there should be a] ‘no’ from the insurance company before we go to the community,” Critchfield said.
She also said she wants to have a meeting with the community to explain the situation the board is facing.
Lillios said the board had talked about the need for an additional classroom at Goal Academy. He said this might be a way to do a small project and use the money.
“We had had a project in mind for Goal that we abandoned,” Lillios said. “I would like to see us increase some capacity with this money, since we lost capacity when we lost Blue Springs.”
Director of Schools Johnny McDaniel said the school needs a classroom for physical education classes.
Board member Chris Turner said the board needs to choose a project that it could complete, start to finish.
“Of the projects we’ve mentioned, can we take a portion of it and actually get it done?” Turner asked.
Lillios and Turner were concerned that any new building at LFMS may simply be in the way in the future when a new academic building is constructed.
Critchfield said there is enough land on the school’s campus that it would not be an issue.
Recommendations from the committee will go to the full school board for approval.