Funding eyed for Rhea County school projects

Funding eyed for Rhea County school projects

March 10th, 2012 Tom Davis/Correspondent in News

Jerry Levengood, the director of schools in Rhea County, Tenn.

DAYTON, Tenn. -- Rhea County school board members are prepared to borrow $1 million for work on the high school's football field and track and construction of a multipurpose building.

Board members adopted a resolution Thursday to recommend the County Commission borrow the money at an interest rate of 2.37 percent.

According to the motion, if bids for the field and track come in at or below $850,000, Director of Schools Jerry Levengood will ask the commission to consider the projects. If the bids are greater than that amount, the board will re-evaluate its position.

Board members have been discussing the need for a new track for several years, and with the decision to build a new high school on the property of the current high school they agreed to upgrade the football field, as well.

Members of the board have said that, with the current high school being converted to a middle school, there will be more demand for use of the current football field. They said a turf field would not hold up under the additional use.

Funds in excess of what is required for the track and field would be used to build a multipurpose building for use by sports teams, officials said.

Board member Bill Davault said he expects the construction manager for the new high school and renovation of the existing building to be able to bring the project in below the bid price.

"If we save money on construction, let's ask the County Commission if they would use that [savings] for the track and field," he suggested.

Finance Director Bill Graham said those projects would not fall within the scope of the bond issue used to finance the school, so there could be no direct exchange like that suggested. But he said any returned bond money would go into the county's general fund, and that could free up the needed money from other areas.

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