published Friday, December 30th, 2011

Hamilton County commissioners discuss Ooltewah Elementary contract

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    Hamilton County Commissioner Chester Bankston from District 9
    Photo by Jake Daniels /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The Hamilton County Commission's Finance Committee discussed the proposed $1.2 million design contract for the new Ooltewah Elementary School.

At a Thursday meeting, Commissioner Chester Bankston said the goal is to bid by June the estimated 1,100-student school, which is targeted to open in fall 2013.

"It'll be one-class-per-grade-level bigger than East Ridge Elementary School," Bankston said.

Though Commissioner Joe Graham said Thursday he'd recommend the agreement with Franklin Architects to the full commission at next Wednesday's meeting, Commissioner Fred Skillern again expressed his concern about the firm.

Earlier this month, Skillern voted against giving the project to the firm, which designed Loftis Middle School in the 1990s. Skillern said the roof at Loftis still leaks.

"If they design a roof and they oversee a roof, can it not be part of their fault?" Skillern asked.

Commissioner Tim Boyd asked Gary Waters, assistant superintendent for auxiliary services, to see the school's final design before it's released to the public.

Boyd said he was asked to review the plans for East Hamilton School, a middle and high school, which he asserted was over budget at the time.

"My response to that request was, 'Why does every faculty member need a personal bathroom?'" he said. "Those cost about $5,000 apiece."

Waters said he could get Boyd a copy but that he wasn't aware that any draft of that school's plans included a restroom for every teacher.

"I would like to take exception to your comment regarding bathrooms," Waters said.

The full commission is expected to vote on the design contract next Wednesday.

about Ansley Haman...

Ansley Haman covers Hamilton County government. A native of Spring City, Tenn., she grew up reading the Chattanooga Times and Chattanooga Free Press, which sparked her passion for journalism. Ansley's happy to be home after a decade of adventures in more than 20 countries and 40 states. She gathered stories while living, working and studying in Swansea, Wales, Cape Town, South Africa, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Ga., and Knoxville, Tenn. Along the way, she interned for ...

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