entral office for the Rhea County School System are still ongoing after commissioners discussed the issue at a Rhea County Commission workshop on Tuesday.
No final decisions were made at the workshop, and commissioners said that discussion will likely resume when the commission meets during its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday.
The Rhea County School System originally planned to construct a new building at the current site; however, school officials said that after Rhea County Academy expressed interest in buying the current site for future expansion, school officials began considering the Broadway Street site, which already has a building on the property.
The county commission voted in September to allow the school board to move forward with gathering information about the project. Tentatively, county school officials said they would like to seek a $2.5 million loan for the project but said that as of now, the purchase cost could be around $1.6 million.
The county commission discussed several aspects of school business on Tuesday, and commissioners are seeking an agreement with the Rhea County School Board to further facilitate the purchase of a new central office property.
Rhea County Commissioner Jim Vincent said that once the debt for Graysville Elementary School is paid off in April 2023, he would like to request that the nearly $180,000 per year that is being paid for the Graysville school be put toward the debt on the new Rhea County High School.
County officials said that the new Rhea County High School is on track to be paid off in 14 to 15 years.
When discussing the possibility of a “trade,” where the school system allows Rhea County Academy to purchase the current central office land and in turn the Broadway Street site is sold to the county by an individual with ties to Rhea County Academy, county officials urged caution.
Rhea County Commisison Chair Jim Reed and commissioner Bill Hollin said the county needs to make sure that any purchase or agreement does not run afoul of state laws and regulations.
“We really need to make sure we dot our I’s and cross our T’s on this one,” Reed said.
The Rhea County Commission took no further action on the proposal and said that it will likely be discussed further at the upcoming meeting on Tuesday. That meeting is set for 6 p.m. and will be conducted via teleconference due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which is in line with current state regulations.