Middle school land vote likely Wednesday

Sandra ClarkFarragut

Sometimes the Knox County school board defies understanding. As in, “They did what???”

The Oct. 2 workshop had vigorous discussion among board members about Wednesday’s vote to spend nearly $5 million to buy 41 acres on Boring Road in Farragut from Doug and Brenda Horne.

Susan Horn, Farragut’s District 5 board member, said, “This is a long process and I don’t think it’s being rushed.”

The timeline has been roughly one week:

  • Farragut Mayor Ron Williams mentioned the purchase and plan to build a middle school on the land when he spoke to Farragut Rotary on Wednesday, Sept. 27.
  • Tom King filed a story on Knox TN Today for Thursday morning, Sept. 28.
  • Susan Horn posted an explanation at 9:28 a.m. Friday, Sept. 29. She posted on a closed Facebook page (visible only to members) that we wrote about here. Horn’s post got 151 reactions and 84 comments. The reactions were all positive (no frowny faces), but the comments challenged the location, the need for a new middle school as opposed to an elementary school and the hurried timeline.
  • The agendas for Oct. 2 and 4 were posted on Knox County Schools’ website on Friday. (Can’t catch a time) The first real notice of the possible land purchase.
  • The board’s workshop was Monday and the vote is set for Wednesday, Oct. 4. One week.

At Monday’s meeting, Dr. Garfield Adams, assistant superintendent for operations, was the go-to staff member. He said, “We looked at 21 properties, only three were suitable.” One was the Scott property, already rejected by a previous board; another lacked requisite zoning. “This is a premier piece of property.”

Board member Jennifer Owen said the board should have been briefed earlier. “We need information on the front end, not the back end.”

Vice chair Steve Triplett asked what would happen if the board were to delay for 30 days.

“The owner could pull out,” said Adams.

Horn said delaying the vote is “not wise. … We could lose the land.”

So, the board is likely to vote tomorrow (10/4) to purchase this land. Somewhere in this town there’s an architectural firm already drawing plans. And the “Let’s Roll Middle School” will be underway.

Meanwhile, the town of Farragut Education Relations Committee meeting scheduled for Oct. 2 was cancelled. The next scheduled meeting will be Nov. 6 at 4 p.m. The announcement came Monday at about 1 p.m. with no explanation.

Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today Inc.


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