Construction for new Sullivan County schools moving forward

Local

For the first time, we’re getting a look at the progress of a brand new high school in Sullivan County. 

Sullivan County School leaders broke ground on West Ridge High School last year. Construction fo the new high school and middle school in Sullivan County is well underway.

Sullivan County School Board Chairman Michael Hughes said while heavy rain delayed the high school, crews are now making significant progress.

“They have poured I think all the front pad,” Hughes said. “I think they are bringing in a crane very soon. The steel will start going up in a matter of days. They have paved the entrances.”

The $60 million project will replace both Sullivan North and Sullivan South High Schools and possibly some or all of Sullivan Central.

“We’re not to the point yet where we know if there’s going to be any rezoning, maybe there will, maybe there won’t,” Hughes said. “We haven’t got that far yet.”

West Ridge High School and the new Sullivan East Middle School will be the first new schools in nearly 40 years. 

“If you visit some of our older middle schools you will see, its way past time that we invest in some new structures,” Hughes said.

The Sullivan East Middle School is well underway as well. It’s expected to open for students in January 2020.

“We’re laying brick, many of the classrooms have sheetrock, we’re already painting on the inside in some places,” Hughes said.

For Barbara Watts, it’s a school her granddaughter will go to.

“I think they will be able to offer them a little more with it not being K-8,” Watts said.

The distance is a concern for her.

“Right now it’s probably from my house to where they’re going about 15-minute drive versus it’s going to be a 40-minute drive,” Watts said.

It’s a concern other parents have as well. There are some parents who have complained the road leading into West Ridge High School is too narrow.

 “Right now, we will use existing roads in the entrance you’ve seen,” Hughes said. “There will be a discussion at some point about making better access.”

West Ridge High School is expected to open in the fall of 2021.

On Thursday, the Sullivan County Commission will hold a work session ahead of a full meeting next week.

Commissioners are expected to vote on a proposal to ask the school board to delay the construction of West Ridge High School until they can provide proof there is enough money to complete the project.

The school board told News Channel 11 there is no reason to delay the project.

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