County School Board Continues To Work On New Middle School Site

Middle School layout at Colwell property

The Coffee County School Board appears one step closer to officially purchasing the Colwell property on State Route 53 to construct a new middle school, but some hurdles do remain.
The Manchester Times reports the board voted 4-2 Monday afternoon to allow Director of Schools Dr. LaDonna McFall to close on the land pending a sewer permit from the State of Tennessee.
Board members Brett Henley and Gary Nester voted against the measure, which was put on the table by a motion from Marilyn Morris and a second from Freda Jones. Reggie Johnson and chair person Esther Sims also voted in favor of Dr. McFall to close the deal. Shannon Duncan was absent from the meeting.
Henley said, “I’m concerned about potentially spending $600,000-plus if 18-feet of dirt had to be moved.
American Constructors Vice President Matt Moore who said the potential dirt problem related to soft soil that may need to be addressed was, in fact, included in the overall site preparation cost.
Another snag facing the school board is the purchase of what is being labeled as the “Holmes property.” The Holmes property, which rests at the corner of the Colwell site and between the Colwell site and Woodbury Highway, could be beneficial to hook New Union up to the new sewer line and to move the location of the school, but is not necessary.
“We can do the New Union sewer without the Holmes property,” deputy director Joe Pedigo told the board after Jones asked if the sewer could be connected without the Holmes property.
“The report from Hastings [Architecture] and American [Constructors] is that by purchasing the site we save money in site prep,” McFall told the board.
Morris, Johnson, Jones and Sims voted to increase the spending cap for the property to $98,700. Henley and Nester voted against that measure.