Sullivan Co. Board of Education selects top picks for new middle, high school sites

SULLIVAN COUNTY (WJHL) – The Sullivan County Board of Education voted Saturday on where it hopes to build a new middle and high school.

It’s part of a $140 million facilities plan. Last week, the board narrowed its choices down to three sites for each school.

“Today we narrowed our properties down to our first choices on the high school and middle school,” said board chairman Michael Hughes.

It’s something years in the making for the county, as they’ve continued to discuss a multi-million dollar plan that includes consolidating schools, renovating facilities and building new ones.

Saturday morning, the board selected the Lynn Road property for a future high school site and Weaver Pike/Harrington Hollow Road for a middle school.

The board also voted on Highway 126 property as an alternate high school site, and Thomas Lane as an alternate for the middle school.

“In the event that something was to come up, we have a backup plan,” Hughes said.

That vote came after project architects presented all of the sites, discussing things like access, topography and visual impact.

Speaking about the proposed middle school site, Hughes said, “In the future we could have an elementary school on that same property. It would be nice for parents to be able to go from the first grade to the 12th grade and kind of head the same direction.”

As for the high school property at Lynn Road, Hughes said the big plus is visibility.

“When people come in to Sullivan County and drive up that interstate they are going to see that high school and its going to say something about Sullivan County,” he said.

Monday morning, the county commission will vote on whether to fund the sites. Hughes said he’ll be there as a spectator.

“I expect it to pass,” said Hughes.

Hughes tells us part of the plan, if it goes through Monday, is to close three high schools – Sullivan North, South and Central. He said students there will be divided between Sullivan East and the new high school.

Hughes said South and Central will probably become middle schools, and North will be sold to the city of Kingsport for $20 million.

County leaders will be voting on whether to fund the sites Monday morning at the monthly County Commission meeting.

News Channel 11 will be there to bring you updates on Monday.

Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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