RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Growth is one of the biggest issues affecting the Rutherford County School District.
“You’re at about $10,000 per kid,” he said. “If we’re adding 1,000 kids per year, it brings in $10 million. A new building is going to cost $50 to $60 million.”
Sullivan serves as the district’s director of schools and said they’ve been working on a plan.
“It’s a new idea to have three groundbreakings and three expansions,” he said.
On Thursday, Aug. 24, the district will break ground on additions to Smyrna, Riverdale, and Oakland high schools.
“It’s monumental,” said Sullivan. “Just to bring new life and new designs back to some of those buildings…it helps increase safety, but then again outside of safety we’re really looking for additional seats.”
All three expansions will cost $136 million, with each school having the capacity to hold up to 2,500 students.
“That’s really going to just get our kids on those campuses out of portables,” said Tammy Sharp.
Sharp is the chair for the Rutherford County School Board and said she is excited for these projects since acquiring land is a struggle for the district.
“I had a list of six pieces of land that we could use, but right now people are not wanting to sell,” she said.
Sharp said the district spent over $5 million to purchase land from Batey Farms, which will allow them to build two new schools.
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Sullivan said they have plans to build an elementary school on that property that would open in August of 2025. There is also room to potentially add either a middle school or a combination of a middle and high school, but Sullivan said the reality is they’ll continue to discuss these key issues until the growth begins to slow down.
“Our number one job is education for our kids, and if we don’t have seats for our students then we are going to be a struggling school system,” he said.
All three high school expansions are projected to be completed by December of 2025.