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OR Preschool committee recommends $7.5M new facility

Constructing a new preschool in Oak Ridge could cost up to $7.5 million—the equivalent of what a special task force estimates it would take to repair the 73-year-old building where the city’s preschool is now located. The final report from the Joint City/Schools Preschool Planning Committee was presented to members of both the City Council and the School Board on Tuesday. Planners recommended building a new facility to replace the aging structure that currently houses the preschool and tabbed Elm Grove Park in east Oak Ridge as its top choice for a building site. The proposed plan calls for a 40,000-square foot facility, the price tag for construction of which would be around $6.3 million, with an additional estimate of $1.2 million for expenses related to infrastructure, architects and other fees along with an in-depth analysis by design and construction firms. The proposed new building would feature 20 classrooms and could accommodate up to 300 students while the current building has 14 classrooms and a student capacity of 192. Other sites mentioned as possibilities were the little-used Pinewood Park off of Bus Terminal Road and the former home of the Ridge Greenhouse on Lincoln Circle. City officials say the Elm Grove Park site is the preferred option as it is relatively flat and already has city utilities. The Task Force recommends a community review of their findings, followed by further discussion with the Council and the School Board next month and possibly adopting resolutions dealing with the proposal in December. Officials estimate that it would take the equivalent of a 7-cent property tax increase in order to pay off a 20-year bond issue that could be sought for the project, which has been on the city’s wish list for several years now.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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