JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL) — A long-delayed athletic complex will move forward at the Boones Creek K-8 school after Washington County commissioners approved a $5.3 million plan Monday.

Following the 12-0 vote on a recommendation from the commission’s ARPA committee (three commissioners were absent), Commission Chairman Greg Matherly grinned and clapped briefly.

“I’m speechless, you know,” he said. “Yeah. Thank you all so much for your hard work on this issue. It’s been some time coming, and I appreciate the willingness for everyone to work together as commission, school board and everyone involved.”

The future site of four athletic fields at Boones Creek K-8 school. Washington County (TN) commissioners approved $5.2 million for the complex at their Oct. 24, 2022 meeting. (Washington County)

More than $2 million of federal American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funds boosted prospects for the project, which had languished for more than three years. That money became available when BrightRidge was unsuccessful in securing a state grant to extend broadband internet into some of the county’s rural areas. It had been set aside as matching funds for the broadband grant.

While it doesn’t fund all the bells and whistles in a plan drawn up by local architect Thomas Weems, the plan as passed covers the installation of four new ballfields, a multipurpose building at the center of those fields and numerous other amenities. Washington County’s Board of Education has the option to provide additional funding, as does the county commission.

“This is something the kids at Boones Creek K-8 have not had, so we are pleased to be able to get what we asked for,” Washington County Board of Education Chair Mike Masters said in a news release. “We look forward to continuing communications opportunities with the Washington County Commission.”

The fields will include dugouts, restrooms, fencing, concession stands and artificial turf infields.

One notable lacking piece is lights for the fields, which carries an estimated price tag of $685,000.