The Board of Education is nearer to deciding the future of J.C. Booth Middle School. At the Sept. 9 meeting, the board looked at the two final options, either a transformational renovation or a totally new building.
Option 1 calls for a transformational renovation of the current building and comes with a total projected cost of $39,976,000. Because the building is 40 years old, a $6.9 million capital outlay reimbursement from the state would chip away at that final total.
The renovation would include a kitchen addition, an addition north of the building on the current football field for offices, classrooms, and a new gym, and the football field would be rebuilt on the south end.
Option 2 would be a completely new building built to house 1,400 students on 37 acres on Stagecoach Road for a total projected cost of $45,991,250. The layout would be designed based on recent schools with tweaks made to enhance security and other measures.
“Basically, it’s just an enlarged Bennett’s Mill (Middle),” said Director of Facilities Mike Satterfield.
Board Chairman Scott Hollowell noted that the nearly two years of disruption to daily life at the school would be another knock against renovating.
“And at the end of the day, you still have the bones of a 40-year-old building,” he said.
If the new building is the choice, the current Booth building would still be an asset to the county and would be reused for a new, as-yet-undetermined purpose.
“Our thought is that we would want to repurpose it, and we could use that $6.9 million (capital outlay reimbursement) for that reason,” said Superintendent Dr. Jody Barrow.
Hollowell said he is leaning towards voting for the new building option, calling it a good investment for the community.
“I can see that building the new school kind of makes more sense,” he said. “In the past, we have tried to fix Booth kind of piecemeal, and we’ve added on and added on and added on and have never really fixed it, and I think it’s just gotten to the point where the new school makes more sense than renovating it for what would essentially be close to the same cost.”
A final vote on the Booth building could come as early as the Sept. 23, but the date is not yet set.