Debate continues on LFMS project
by CHRISTY ARMSTRONG Banner Staff Writer
Dec 10, 2013 | 823 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Bradley County Commission furthered its discussion on ongoing renovations to Lake Forest Middle School at its work session Monday.

The Commission discussed a recent letter from the Bradley County Board of Education that outlined the board’s understanding of the Commission’s commitment to fund the projects at Lake Forest.

Commissioner Adam Lowe, who is on the governing body’s education committee, read from the letter that the school board had committed to spend $1 million for the project for a period of 12 months, with construction to begin on July 1, 2015.

Lowe said the date “does not coincide with” the Commission’s understanding the project would begin during fiscal year 2016.

A variety of projects like roof repairs and asbestos abatement in the school’s cafeteria were completed earlier this fall, despite having been originally slated as part of the later project.

Johnny McDaniel, the Bradley County Schools director, called those and other repairs like them “immediate things that cannot be delayed” because Lake Forest is a functioning school.

“Those are items that would have been part of the original request that are now off the table,” McDaniel said.

Lowe said the letter led him to believe the total cost of renovations to Lake Forest could be anywhere from $12 million to $14 million.

“They’re spending $12 million,” Lowe said. “They fully anticipate this will not be fully funded.” 

Lowe noted that the school board showed “no attempt to scale back the project” in case of a possible budget deficit.

However, Commissioner Jeff Morelock said he did not want to see the county “cut corners” on the projects at Lake Forest, as he said the county has done in the past.

The school board and Commission have communicated back and forth in the past, and their final budget numbers have often differed.

“We did send this board a ‘maybe,’ and I think we got a ‘maybe’ back,” Lowe said.

Members plan to revisit the matter during a regular voting session.

Commissioners will also revisit a discussion related to findings from a recent meeting of the Tennessee Municipal League that concerned how already-collected tax dollars should be distributed.

County Mayor D. Gary Davis also announced the county is in the process of signing a five-year contract with the United States Postal Service that would keep the downtown Cleveland post office in operation for at least that length of time.

The county will also be working to update its Occupational Safety and Health Administration plan in the near future, he said.