News Ticker

Board accepts insurance’s walkaway number to rebuild schools

After over a year of discussion, The Wilson County School Board has approved a dollar amount from Traveler’s Insurance to rebuild the schools damaged by the March 3 tornado.
Wilson County Schools has been in dispute with the insurance company over the number needed to rebuild West Wilson Middle School and Stoner Creek Elementary which have been sitting damaged since the tornado.
The School Board went into Executive Session for almost two hours Monday night to speak with County Attorney Mike Jennings about the “walkaway number” offered by Traveler’s Insurance. That number was revealed after exiting Executive Session as $53,747,077.31.
Jennings said before the vote that you had to weigh the number against litigation, which could take another two years to resolve.
“Your schools have been down long enough,” said Jennings.
Jennings said there is still money out there because the school system can file a FEMA claim once the demolition and rebuilding are bid out.
The School Board approved the number unanimously.
“I’m looking forward to watching those bulldozers roll,” said Jennings.
Board Chair Larry Tomlinson echoed Jennings sentiments later in the meeting.
“I wish it could have happened quicker, it didn’t, but I am happy where we are now,” said Tomlinson.
After the vote, Director of Schools Dr. Donna Wright made a recommendation that the Board approve a “portable village” for Stoner Creek Elementary. There would be 20 portables which would total 40 classrooms and could house up to 800 students. Stoner Creek Elementary has just over 600 students.
“They will have ample space,” said Dr. Wright.
There will be two restroom facilities built, a playground, and the school will be able to use the Phyllis Robinson Gymnasium for administration and teacher work space. That will give all summer 2021, the 2021-22 school year and summer 2022 to get Stoner Creek Elementary rebuilt. The students will be able to watch the progress. The portables would be leased until the school is finished.
The move was recommended because of an explosion of enrollment at Stoner Creek Elementary, Mt. Juliet Middle School and West Wilson Middle School. The board approved it unanimously.