Six Million Approved for New School

New developments for the new high school in West Knox County.

Volunteer TV's Whitney Daniel has been following the story from the beginning.

Right now, Knox County is conducting a "facilities study." That means they're assessing all the schools in the county to set priorities for which projects need addressed first, but board members already know one priority is building the new West Knox County High School for 2,100 students.

Monday, commissioners appropriated six million to do just that, but the money will come from a different fund than the school board had planned.

"Part of our concern going in, living in this community, is that our son has a place to go to school when he reaches high school age and that there's enough room in the school for all the students that need to go there, so we're obviously thrilled," parent Melissa Copeland said.

Parents, School Board members, County Commissioners...They're just thrilled the big question has been answered.

"The county commission came together with the school board and everybody agrees that we need to build the school for 21-hundred," school board chair Karen Carson said.

Now it's simply a matter of money.

"I think at this point, on a bare level, it will come out of our budget, our capital fund next year," Carson said.

That could put several other projects in jeopardy.

"The smaller the amount gets, obviously the less impact it's going to have on future years, and that's where we are, but to say that if we spend this money, it's not going to impact some other project, it will have to at some point," Knox County mayor Mike Ragsdale said.

On the other hand, if the board doesn't spend this money now -- waiting or splitting up the cost could mean a higher price.

"If you start, you know, appropriating it to me one-half million at a time over the fiscal year, I could have a problem," said Dale Smith from the Public Building Authority.

Parents say doing it now, doing it right is the way to go.

"It's good that they've made a decision that's far-sighted because ultimately, they were going to have to do it anyway," parent Greg Copeland said.

"I'm glad they're getting the whole building and not have to put it off and then spend twice or three times as much later on," parent Bruce Fortune said.

Since the money is coming from the school board's general fund, that list of priorities is very important. Do they build a parking lot or ball fields at the new high school now or wait until some other facilities in the county are updated? Those are the questions the board hopes this "facilities study" will answer.