Commission to vote on new Jonesborogh Elementary roofs

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With plans for a new Jonesborough school stalled, the full commission will be voting tonight on $1.1 million for a new roof for the aging building.

Phillip Patrick, maintenance supervisor for the county education department, said in previous meetings that a new roof for the school can’t be delayed.

The $1.1 million expense will replace all of Jonesborough Elementary School’s roof, including the portion that was added to the back of the round building about 20 years ago. 

The original idea, Patrick said, was for roof improvements to be a part of the plan to renovate Jonesborough Elementary into a K-8 school. But after the community pushed back in favor of a new building for Jonesborough students, the board has had trouble agreeing on a plan for the future of the Jonesborough K-8 school. 

And the time is up for the Jonesborough Elementary School roof. Patrick estimated parts of the roof haven’t been replaced in 25 years.

“We can’t wait any longer, we’ve started putting patches on patches, and last time we made a repair on the roof it (was) a 20-foot by 20-foot patch.” 

Board member Mary Beth Dellinger, who represents the Jonesborough community on the Washington County Board of Education, voted against the motion when the board considered it last year. 

She said she wanted to wait to see what the future holds for the Jonesborough K-8 school and the adjacent McCoy property, the parcel of land adjacent to the two schools. 

“I don’t want the commissioners to think putting a roof on the school is going to solve Jonesborough’s problems,” she said, adding, “It’s not going to be an issue we don’t revisit for another 20 years. That’s not what the community deserves.”

Throughout the discussion on the Jonesborough K-8 school, Dellinger has represented parents in the Jonesborough community intent on “tearing down the round” portion of the school. 

But after spending $1.1 million to re-roof the school, Dellinger said she wouldn’t be opposed to repurposing the building as long as the county secures the McCoy property for the school system.

After years of split votes delaying the progress on Jonesborough K-8’s future, the board voted to send Scheme 6, a plan that would renovate the Jonesborough Middle School building, to the county commission. 

The plan passed the county Health, Education and Welfare Committee and is now pending in the county Budget Committee. If it passes the county Budget Committee, it will be the first Jonesborough K-8 plan to be considered by the full commission. 

Scheme 6’s progress doesn’t change anything, though. 

“Even if they started scheme 6 this summer, we’re still three years away and we’ve got to keep the building dry,” Patrick said.

The county commission will meet tonight at 6 in courtroom 7 of the George Jaynes Justice Center, 108 W. Jackson Blvd., Jonesborough.

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