Councilman wants infrastructure addressed before schools built
March 13, 2013 06:32 PM
Reported By Chris Bundgaard, Reporter - bio | email
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -
Two new schools are planned for the fastest growing part of Nashville, but the area's councilman thinks issues like traffic and sidewalks should be considered before the proposals are finalized.
Standing alongside the busy, two lane Smith Springs Road with no sidewalks and little shoulder, Metro Council member Robert Duvall said that safety is a concern.
"Somewhere we have got to draw the line and say our kids' safety is number one," he said.
In September 2012, the Metro School Board approved funding for 25 acres on Smith Springs Road in the Antioch area of Nashville.
The idea was that the land could be used for two much needed schools, side-by-side, one elementary and one middle.
Few doubt the need for the new schools, with examples like nearby Lakeview Elementary needing five portable classrooms because the school is at 122% capacity.
"I can't stand kids being in the portables outside, especially in pouring down rain, and the kids running back into the building," said Lakeview teacher Misty Cavender, who also has a first grader at the school.
Funding for the elementary school is in the proposed capital budget for the next school year.
The money for the middle school has not yet been proposed, but long-term plans aim for the elementary to open in 2015 and the middle school the following year.
Councilman Duvall, though, wants to put the brakes on the plans until "infrastructure needs are addressed."
He was part of a meeting late Wednesday with top Metro school officials along with two of the landowners of the proposed Smith Springs Road school site.
They pledged to do a "better job of working together" to address the questions of infrastructure for the area in tandem with moving forward on the proposed school plans.
Councilman Duvall said he plans to hold community meetings on the issue.