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Wilson County Schools discuss plans, rezoning

Wilson County Schools held two community meetings last week to discuss possible rezoning due to new schools being added to the county.

The meetings were held at West Wilson Middle School and Mt. Juliet Middle School on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. WCS previously rescheduled the meetings after weather and sickness prevented the original meeting times in February.

WCS is in the process of completing Gladeville Middle School, which is scheduled to open August 2019. The new high school in Mt. Juliet, tentatively called Greenhills High School, is planned on opening in 2020.

The new school is planned on being built near W.A. Wright Elementary School, off of North Green Hill Road. In order to have the new high school open by 2020, the project needs to be funded by May’s County Commissioners meeting.

The current proposed cost of the new high school is $110 million. This number is the total development cost and includes construction costs as well as soft costs. Soft costs include fees, furniture, fixtures and equipment.

According to WCS, officials should know the specific numbers within a few weeks after they receive bids for construction.

With the new schools offering a solution to the overcrowding at Mt. Juliet and Lebanon High Schools, WCS board officials are proposing rezoning students for the middle and high schools. If approved and construction begins Summer 2018, the rezoning would go into effect July 1, 2020, according to Wilson County Schools.

According to board officials, there will not be any rezoning of elementary schools until new schools are built or until there are drastic enrollment changes at the current schools.

For students entering the final year at their school, such as those going into eighth or twelfth grades, they can elect to stay at their current school. All other grades will attend their new school.

The enrollment numbers presented at the meetings were based on enrollment as of March 22, 2018. As enrollment fluctuates at each school throughout the year, the numbers are expected to change.

If the proposed rezoning is approved, the enrollment for each school becomes more balanced. Mt. Juliet Middle will have 1,145 students, West Wilson will have 1,174, and Gladeville Middle will have 792.

The same will be true for high school enrollment as well. The new high school will have 1,541 students, Mt. Juliet 1,408, Wilson Central 1,425, Lebanon 1,772, and Watertown 787.

If the new high school does not get funded, the projected enrollment at current Wilson County high schools will continue to grow. Mt. Juliet will have 2,067 students, Wilson Central 2,037, Lebanon 2,048, and Watertown 784.

The board does not recommend this because the current growth of MJHS and Lebanon High will not allow the schools to function as they should. Most of the high schools are already at or over capacity.

A question proposed to school board officials was if more schools are being projected over the next several years. According to the WCS website, an elementary school and middle school on Golden Bear Gateway, a new elementary school on Highway 231 South, a new special needs school, and new elementary, middle and high schools yet to be determined, have been approved by the board.

For detailed maps of the possible rezoning plans, or to view frequently asked questions from the community, visit www.wcschools.com/Page/2494.

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