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Putnam County school board approves new school design

Architect Kim Chamberlin addresses the Putnam County School Board.

Story courtesy of JIM HERRIN | HERALD-CITIZEN located in Cookeville, TN

The Putnam County School Board Thursday approved the revised schematic design for a proposed new school in southwest Cookeville — reducing the auditorium seating from 1,000 to 600 in an attempt to reduce the overall cost.

Architect Kim Chamberlin said the revised plan for the proposed PreK-8 school will reduce the square footage of the building from 187,000 to 181,000 square feet, potentially reducing the cost by $1.2 million.

"No real changes to the look," Chamberlin told board members, noting that the estimated cost of the school as it is designed is approximately $45.5 million.

The design still incorporates grades PreK-8 in a building that would be constructed on a 45-acre site on Lee Seminary Road.

Officials have said that the new school is intended to accommodate students who are now zoned to attend Park View Elementary School. It is expected to hold up to 1,000 students.

Although they approved the revised design, board members then voted to postpone formally sending a proposal to the Putnam County Commission with a request for funding.

"We're making sure that we have all our ducks in a row with the commission," said board member Lynn McHenry. "We have a great relationship with them, and we want to keep that great relationship. We want to make sure they know what's coming."

Henry said school officials are aware that the county may be having to borrow money for jail renovations in addition to funding the new school.

"We want to find out what their bond capacity is, what we can ask for (and) what they can do," he said. "It's just a matter of making sure we work well with them."

He said the specific funding request will likely be discussed at the board's March meeting.

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