Board looks at plans for Boones Creek school

Board looks at plans for Boones Creek school, top county building sites

Published in Herald & Tribune Feb. 4, 2015 issue

Beeson, Lusk & Street was selected as the architect to build a new pre-K-8 Boones Creek school with a 2017 projected completion date during a called Washington County Board of Education meeting last week.

“I have been very fortunate to work with the board since the early ‘80s. This by far is certainly the greatest opportunity that I have had and my office has had to serve Washington County,” said Tony Street of Beeson, Lusk & Street at the Jan. 28 meeting.

The new pre-K-8 school will have 1,100 students and will be between 138,000 to 145,000 square feet. Street said the overall square footage shifts depending on how many square feet is allowed for students or how much is allowed for square-foot cost.

Street said he used $150 per square foot and about 130 square feet per student, which may go up or down.

“You can’t hit that number exactly,” he said. “I think we are in pretty good shape at $20,625,000.”

The site preparation, which is based on a 50-acre site at $60,000 an acre, is estimated to cost $3 million. The kitchen equipment is estimated to cost $500,000; furnishings $600,000; contingency $1 million; and fees $1.2 million.

The athletic facilities are estimated to cost $2 million, and the land acquisition is estimated to cost $1,650,000.

The school-board-approved budget for the new Boones Creek school is projected for $30,575,000.

The amount does not include Smart Boards, computers, library materials and books. All of the wiring, infrastructure, power and electric, classroom furniture, media center furniture, administration furniture, cabinets and counters are all included in the price, according to Street.

A timeline, which is not set in stone, was presented to the board to give them an idea of when the school is projected to be completed.

“This is a very tight timeline,” Street said. “We are here in January 2015. We would hope that by the end of March we would have a programming session. We do need to get together with teachers, with department heads and talk about all the components that we are going to put into this new school.”

He said they are allowing a month for the preliminary design in April, which would be brought before the board for their comments, review and hopeful approval.

“At that point we would start our final drawings, contract document specifications for the final project,” Street said, which he is hoping to conclude by the end of August.

During that same time, he said, they would like to start a contractor qualification/selection process.

“The bidding and contract award is tentatively set to take place in September and October 2015.

The 20-month construction period has tentatively been set from November 2015 through June 2017. It would be followed by a one-month move in during July 2017.

“It’s not a good idea to get in a school over Christmas break, particularly a school this big. It does not work. We have got to hit this date or we are going to be (20)18. We are shoe horned in there right now.”

Board Member Todd Ganger pointed out that the good thing about it is the students are waiting for a school; they will be in a school if it did carry on.

Street said depending on what happens, the opening could go into 2018.

The board also discussed four different site selections for the new Boones Creek school.

The first site, which is owned by Carl Young, is 77 acres and is located on Boones Creek Road by the railroad tracks.

“This is in conversation with the mayor. There are plans to extend Knob Creek. There is potential that Knob Creek might be extended through that area, and if that happens, it would give the opportunity for access off of that into the site. Otherwise we would access off of Boones Creek Road,” Street said.

Some positive points about the property, he said, is it is big enough for a school, it is for sale and it only has one owner.

“There is a lot of developable land around this property and it might be very conducive for development for the county,” Street said.

He said they have done a little footprint on the site, which would include a two-story school, separate drives for bus and car drop off and pick up, athletic fields and probably a development of parks or public space of some kind.

“I have ridden the site and looked at it. There are parts of it that are very buildable and lay very well. There is a lot of potential here I think,” Street said.

The second possible site is also located on Boones Creek Road just north of the first site. It is 86 acres and has mutliple owners with Helen Carter Harrison, Dwight Hunt and David Hodge.

“This is a good piece of property that is well shaped,” Street said.

The third possible site is owned by John Glaze on Carroll Creek Road. The 65-acre site, Street said, sits back behind the existing middle school. He said there is a stream or branch in the corner of the property, as well as a ridge that becomes pretty steep.

The fourth site, which is on the north side of the interstate off of Roseview Drive, is currently farm land with cattle. The 40-acre piece of property is owned by Mary Edith Rose.

“It all slopes into a watering pond,” he said. “In short, I am not greatly impressed with this.”

The board voted in favor of giving Street permission to pursue any land opportunities for the Boones Creek school location within the price range given to them by the county mayor.

Street was also given permission to get soil borings of the site.

 

‘Most effective schools in Tennessee’

I have always enjoyed interviewing educators over the years, especially when they are honored for what they have done for their students. This principal’s accomplishment’s were brought to my attention during a board meeting I was covering for the Washington County Board of Education in Jonesborough, Tennessee. After pitching the story idea to my editor, I ran with the story. Read what this Boones Creek Elementary School principal accomplished.

Boones Creek principal recognized by board for making a difference

Published in the Herald & Tribune June 17, 2014 issue

An educator of 44 years — 20 of which were spent at Boones Creek Elementary School as the principal ­ — was honored with the Director of Schools “Made a Difference Award” earlier this month.

Director of Schools Ronald Dykes said Boones Creek Elementary has been recognized by the Education Consumer’s Foundation as one of the most effective schools in Tennessee on seven different occasions.

The key to that award, he said, is Principal Teresa Leonard, who was the principal during those designations.

Dykes said they have never had any other school receive such a distinguished honor by the Education Consumer’s Foundation in the Washington Department of Education school system.

Leonard, who grew up in West Virginia, graduated from Marshall University with a teaching degree. The first year and a half of her career was spent in West Virginia. After moving to Tennessee, she was hired by the Washington County Department of Education and spent time working at the Boones Creek and Daniel Boone schools.

After accepting the award at the June 5 meeting of the WCDE board meeting, she recalled moving into an apartment close to Daniel Boone when she began teaching there as an art teacher.

Leonard said she earned her master’s degree in supervision and administration from East Tennessee State University, which helped further her career in Washington County.

She was the assistant principal at Boones Creek Elementary School for five years before becoming the principal.

“I always wanted to be a principal because I could affect the education of children more that way,” Leonard said.

One of the many highlights of her career was receiving the designation of the most effective school in Tennessee seven different times.

Leonard said the Education Consumers Foundation is a nonprofit agency that collects test score data in Tennessee. She said in order to be eligible, a principal has to be at the same school for five years.

The latest data recorded on the foundation’s website was for the yearly achievement gain between 2011 and 2013. Boones Creek Elementary School was ranked third in the state of Tennessee, behind Mcpheeters Bend Elementary School in Hawkins County and Dresden Elementary in Weakley County. The growth index for Boones Creek was 10.95.

“I’m thrilled because you are all the time thinking you are doing what is right, the best you can, but until you get that wonderful feeling that (the students are showing) three times as much growth, that let’s you know that you are on the right track,” Leonard said.

Leonard said one of the things she was told was principals in successful schools have high expectations.

Throughout her time at Boones Creek Elementary School, Leonard promoted the concept of working as a team.

“We work together and I guess that is probably what makes us a little different,” she said.

Her teachers have a common planning time for each grade level where they discuss lesson plans for that day. Leonard said every day is different, and sometimes lesson plans have to be altered to revisit yesterday’s lesson on phonics.

“It’s like a ball team. Everyone works together and that is important,” she said.

The teamwork was also accomplished through an accelerated reader goal of 15,000 points for all of the students. Leonard said this past year, her students reached 15,500 points, surpassing the goal by 500 points.

The principal’s promise, another school-wide team working strategy, is what Leonard pledges she will do if the goal is met. This year she was the lifeguard for the dunking machine, which put the assistant principal sitting on the ledge above the water in the dunk machine.

“It helps motivate them as a whole school,” she said of the principal’s promise.

In years past, Leonard said, she promised to kiss the top of a pig’s head, stay in a jail located in the lobby of the school and be slimed by the students.

“The teachers said that school-wide goals get everyone excited and everyone works together,” she said.

Every Friday, the students participate in a Math Fun Fact timed test, which tests them on subtraction, addition, multiplication and division.

“These are the things you are going to remember the rest of your life,” Leonard said. “We shouldn’t have to use a calculator to estimate the number of chairs in a row.”

The results from the weekly test are given to Leonard by each teacher, so she can review them and praise the students who knew the answers so quickly.

She said it has also been important to her to review all of her 500 students’ report cards, so she can be familiar with the students’ academics and their names.

“To me, that makes you familiar with every student and the needs — as far as an administration — to help teachers with a certain subject,” she said.

To help raise grades, after school tutoring for math and reading are offered, which Leonard oversaw.

After a fulfilling career, Leonard retired at the end of the school year. She said her and her husband will have more time to travel now that she is retired.