Washington Co. Commission votes to move forward with Jonesborough School Proposal


JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL)- After almost five hours of debate, questions, legal and financial counsel, the Washington County Commission approved to enter a lease agreement with the Town of Jonesborough to build a new K-8 school and athletic facility.

The resolution passed with amendments made on the floor. Earlier Thursday afternoon, Jonesborough’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen met to make recommendations to the commission ahead of the vote.

Those recommendations were amended and voted on during the meeting.

The commission voted to raise the cost of the school from $32 million to $32.75 million. This will include everything from the design to interest.

SEE MORE: One week after decision to delay vote, local leaders still have concerns about proposed Jonesborough lease

Some of the biggest questions surrounded the facilities lease and cost. Ultimately, it was decided that the building lease would be for a period up to 38 years from the time it was turned over. The facilities lease will be 10 years, according to Washington County officials.

Along with maintaining the new facilities, Jonesborough will maintain the facilities around the Boone’s Creek School. The facilities lease will go into effect once the school is occupied.

The county will have the option to purchase the athletic facilities for $1 if all leases are paid.

SEE MORE: Jonesborough school lease vote deferred

During the meeting, it was also proposed that Johnson City take out the bonds for the project. The city could get the bonds at a cheaper interest rate than the town of Jonesborough.

That option being on the table allowed the county to bargain for changes to the lease. The county’s legal counsel from Knoxville said this would take the project back to the beginning phases.

Earlier in the meeting, the commission voted on a resolution authorizing “investigation, negotiation and execution with the city of Johnson City regarding LEA apportionment.” This means that county mayor Joe Grandy can negotiate with Johnson City to cover its school needs.

PREVIOUS STORY: Johnson City Schools worried about long-term financial impact of Jonesborough School Proposal

What’s next?

The town of Jonesborough still needs to apply for the bonds. The 3% interest rate that was offered is locked in through the end of the year.

Once the bonds have been issued, the planning and design phase will begin. That portion will also have to include an environmental evaluation of the proposed site.

PREVIOUS STORY: Jonesborough School proposal brings controversy amid excitement

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