Rhea high school, renovations could cost $34 million

Rhea high school, renovations could cost $34 million

May 15th, 2011 in News

DAYTON, Tenn. - Rhea County can expect to spend about $33.8 million to build a high school, renovate the present building for use as a middle school and renovate the present vocational school, school board members were told recently.

The estimate comes from Steve Hewlett of Hewlett Spencer LLC, construction manager for the proposed project. The firm is to meet May 24 with local contractors and subcontractors to discuss the project and seek local response for future bids.

County commissioners plan to meet soon with representatives of bond companies to figure the best way to fund the school and a proposed jail or justice center. Once the county has firm cost estimates, commissioners have said they will consider adopting a county wheel tax, raising property taxes or finding some other way to raise the money.

Hewlett told school board members Thursday that architects recommend a new school building of 234,000 square feet be put next to the existing high school.

He said the new building is estimated to cost $30.9 million. Renovations to the existing building are estimated at $2.1 million and renovations to the vocational building at the present high school would cost about $683,000.

"These are very knowledgeable estimates based on other pricing and bids we have data on," Hewlett said. "This is not the guaranteed maximum price, not a bid price. Once we have the plans and specifications approved by you, that's when we will go to the marketplace."

In other matters, school board members approved a request to name the Spring City football field in memory of Billy Frank Smith, a Spring City native, U.S. Navy veteran and longtime educator.

They also approved a request for $2,200 from Spring City Middle School Principal Buddy Jackson to complete an outdoor classroom, a project made possible through a $5,000 grant from Lowe's. Jackson said the money would pay for a concrete pad not in the original design.

Tom Davis is based in Dayton. Email him at tsdavis@volstate.net.