School Board discusses school renovations

Macon County School Board photo by Vickie Carpenter

Diane Peltz – Contributing Writer

The Macon County School Board meeting was held on Monday, April 24, and included a discussion focusing on two major issues – the priority list for school project renovations; and the proposed purchase of the Higdon property.

School Board Chairman Jim Breedlove explained the priorities for renovating Macon Schools. Breedlove wanted to assure concerned citizens that the Highlands School renovation project was not off the table. He clarified that the Macon Middle School (MMS) track field project would use money left over from the MMS renovation. The Highlands School Renovation project was rated an emergency and number two on the board’s list of priorities. The Franklin High School (FHS) new construction project was ranked number one.  Breedlove pointed out that portions of the high school were built in the 1952 and has never been fully renovated. The third emergency project was the Highlands School Soccer Field renovation.  The soccer field has been an issue for some time, due to flooding.  The field floods and becomes too soggy to use. One student was injured when he twisted his foot in the muck.  When the girls play in the winter the water freezes making the field too dangerous and slippery to use. Breedlove wanted to reiterate that these projects were never taken off the list of priorities as some people thought.

The second discussion was regarding the recent proposal by the Macon County Commissioners, to purchase the Higdon property, which is located on Way Street across from FHS.Breedlove spoke about the wish for the property to be given for use by Macon Schools.Colleen Strickland, Director- Macon Virtual Academy, CTE, Testing and Accountability, spoke about using the land for CTE classes.She was hopeful that the land could be used for a mini farm and other agricultural class needs.She said that the CTE classes could really use another space to expand their ever growing classes.Breedlove acknowledged that the property purchase still has to be approved by other members of the Board of Commissioners and that it was too soon to speculate what the commissioners are planning to do with the property, if purchased.Macon County Commissioner Gary Shields stated that there will be a meeting Wednesday night to further discuss the future of the property.Breedlove also acknowledged that other interested parties might have plans for the use of the property.Ideas for this property were tabled until the commissioners decide what the plans are for its use.

The next School Board meeting will be held on May, 22, at Nantahala School, at which time the School Board is hoping to have more clarity on the use of the Higdon property purchase.