By Mac McLeod,

OCN Staff

It was back to square one last Tuesday night when the building committee of the Overton County School Board met with architect John Cheney and engineer Don Collins for further discussion on just what could be done for certain projects the committee has deemed “vital” to be accomplished with limited funding.

Members attending the meeting included chairman Michael Hayes, Ricky Dodson, Mike Sullivan, Dolphus Dial, and Diane Sadler. Several members from the full board were also in attendance following a meeting of the full board earlier.

Chairman Hayes reiterated from previous meetings that the board could not borrow any money until the two outstanding bonds are retired. One will finish next year and the second in 2025 .

“We are asking John (Cheney) if there is anything we can take out of the plans that were presented several month ago for the football stadium to cut the cost from the proposed $4.4 million,” Hayes stated. “Since we can’t borrow any money until 2025, we will have to use money in our fund balance (unused funds accumulated from past budgets) so we need to see if and where we can cut to stay within reason.”

Currently, the fund balance is in the neighborhood of $7 million, but a certain percentage of that money can’t be used and must be reserved for unforeseen emergencies.

“We are looking for options,” Hayes told Cheney. “Can we cut anything anywhere? Because of time, right now the football stadium has moved to the top of our list of things we need to focus on, but we are not overlooking other high priority project like the roof at the REACH building or the maintenance garage.

“If we intend to have a new stadium in 2020, we have to start the day following the final home game of the upcoming season. If we delay much longer, we are looking at 2021. Since we realize the liability the old stadium holds, we’ve got to move.”

It was also pointed out that the upcoming basketball season is just around the corner and a new floor will have to be installed at Livingston Academy after last spring’s flood in the area buckled the old one.

Director of Schools Mark Winningham explained that insurance will cover the replacing of the floor, and bids will have to be accepted to do work on new seating.

Cheney told the committee he would get to work on seeing what could be cut back or worked around, to be added back in at a later date, and that he would get back with the board as soon as possible.