Local News Articles

Two Injured in Early Morning Wreck on West Broad Street

May 7, 2008
Dwayne Page

Two people were injured in a near head-on crash early Wednesday morning on West Broad Street in front of the former location of Stribling Chevrolet.

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 19 year old Joshua Glen Kerley of Antioch Road, Smithville was driving west in a 2006 GMC Sierra pickup truck when he apparently fell asleep, crossed over into the eastbound lane, and struck a 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse, driven by 52 year old Donna Seat Randall of Mount Juliet.

Trooper Jennings says after making impact with the car, Kerley's truck overturned at least twice and came to rest upright on it's wheels in the eastbound lanes facing south. Randall's car wound up in the grass off the road also facing south.

The accident was reported to 911 at 5:19 a.m.

According to Trooper Jennings, Kerley was enroute to his job with Jones Brothers Construction in Mount Juliet while Randall, who is employed at Raintree Manor in McMinnville, was also going to work.

Randall was trapped in her car and had to be extricated by members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department's Extrication and Rescue Team. She was airlifted from the scene by a Life Force helicopter ambulance and flown to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga with serious injuries.

Kerley was transported by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital for treatment.

Officers of the Smithville Police Department and DeKalb County Sheriff's Department were also on the scene.

Two Women Facing Drug Related Charges by Sheriff's Department

May 5, 2008
Dwayne Page

Two women are facing drug related charges in separate cases by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department

30 year old Amy Vanderpool of Haley Road, Smithville was charged Wednesday with possession of drug paraphernalia.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Vanderpool was at a market in Smithville when a deputy spotted her. The officer had knowledge of a violation of probation on Vanderpool and when he searched her pocketbook, the officer found three hypodermic needles and two straws. Vanderpool's bond was set a $1,000 and her court date is May 15th.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, 35 year old Kimberly Shawn Reed of Short Street, Smithville was stopped by a county deputy at the intersection of College Street and Highway 70 in Dowelltown. The officer received consent to search and Reed was found to have in her possession a pill crusher containing one pill believed to be Hydocodone and 2 ½ pills believed to be Soma.

Reed was charged with possession of a Schedule IV Drug (Soma), Possession of a Schedule III Drug (Hydrocodone), and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (Pill Crusher). Reed's bond was set a $4,000 and her court date is May 15th.

Sheriff Ray has also released an Activity Report on incidents from March 1, 2007 to March 1, 2008

These are dispatched calls; not self-initiated calls (incidents that officers respond to on routine patrols). Self-initiated calls are not included in these counts:
Wrecks- 500
4 wheeler calls- 67
911 calls- 153
Abandoned Vehicles- 26
Animal calls- 228
Assaults- 44
Boat Fires- 3
Break-ins- 108
Burglar Alarms- 299
Child Custody Exchanges- 12
Children in roadway- 6
Debris in roadway- 30
Disturbing the peace- 72
Domestic violence- 206
Drug trafficking- 18
Escorts- 74
Extra Patrols- 43
Fights- 75
Fire Alarms- 23
Funeral Escorts- 157
Gas drive-offs- 12
Harassments- 23
Indecent exposure- 4
Investigations- 606
Kidnapping- 2
Vehicle lockouts- 514
Medical Assists- 162
Missing Persons- 27
Phone harassment- 2
Possible D.U.I.- 74
Prowlers- 36
Public Intoxication- 12
Rape- 2
Reckless Drivers- 140
Recover Property- 13
Robbery- 7
Seizures- 9
Shots fired- 33
Shop lifter- 1
Stolen property- 134
Stolen vehicle- 34
Stranded motorists-59
Structure Fires- 50
Someone threatened-41
Suicides- 23
Suspicious persons/vehicles- 215
Traffic Hazards- 11
Trespassing- 10
Unruly juveniles- 13
Unwanted guests- 55
Vandalism- 81
Vehicle fires- 11
Wanted Persons- 12
Welfare checks- 81
Miscellaneous- 6

Total 4,686 incident calls reported from Central Dipatch

•The Sheriff’s Department also serves all Civil and State Warrants.
•The Sheriff’s Department has served over 2,447 Civil Warrants and Criminal Summons.
•There have been over 2,298 people that have been booked into the jail.

Dr. W.E. Vanatta Receives Lifetime Membership Award from TAB

May 4, 2008
Dwayne Page

The founder of WJLE has been honored by the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters.

Dr. W.E. Vanatta, who was owner of the station for almost 44 years, received the association's Lifetime Membership Award during the TAB's 60th Anniversary Gala held Friday and Saturday at the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville.

Dr. Vanatta, was one of three individuals, who received the award Saturday night.

The Lifetime Membership Award goes to distinguished broadcasters who have committed to a lifetime of learning, observing, and growing with the industry. This award honors their lasting contributions as part of the industry. They are respected by their peers for their values, relationships, priorities, and vision.

Doug Combs, TAB Director at Large and owner of WBRY in Woodbury, presented the award. In his remarks, Combs summarized some of Dr. Vanatta's achievements. "Small town broadcasters are concerned about their community and they do whatever needs to be done. This honoree certainly has done that. In 1964 he gathered a group of individuals together because he felt his community needed a radio station. His livelihood was pretty much guaranteed. He was a chiropractor but still he knew the community needed more. He brought these folks together and soon, shortly thereafter, a construction permit was issued. DeKalb County has been very fortunate since then to have a true community radio station."

"His marketing philosophies are very basic but they ring so true. One of his slogans is ‘You Tell Us, We'll Tell Thousands' and that's what they do everyday with the stations and with their website. He thinks that people need to be connected with their government. Years before we had C-Span, he connected the people of DeKalb County with their government because WJLE will broadcast the city council meetings, the board of education meetings, and the county commission meetings. And when the world came to Smithville for the Fiddler's Jamboree, our honoree knew that maybe some of the local folks might not feel comfortable down on the square so they started broadcasting the Fiddler's Jamboree."

" In the last couple of years they've held radiothons assisting Habitat for Humanity, raising funds to build homes. They had a radiothon in 1997 to raise money for the development of a children's playground in Smithville. And he knew that folks, even when they were away from home, still wanted to know what was going in the community, so he met the challenges by streaming the LIVE local events on the Internet like the ballgames and the newcasts so that folks could stay in tune."

" One of my favorite sayings is the one that he lived by at the station. He said ‘this is how you run your station. You stay on the air. You stay in the black. You report the news. Don't BE the news. And never get scooped by the weekly newspaper."

Members of Dr. Vanatta's family attended the awards ceremony with him including his wife, daughters and sons-in-law, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

City Voter Registration Up- Deadline Nearing for New Registrations

May 2, 2008
Dwayne Page

The voter registration deadline is drawing near for the Smithville Municipal Election.

Lisa Peterson, DeKalb County Administrator of Elections says the deadline for registering as a city voter is Monday, May 19th and since the first of the year, voter registration in the city has been up. “As always, when there is a contested race, there is a little bit more interest. Registrations are up, both for residential registrations and also property rights voters. As of today (Friday) we have 3,188 registered voters in the city of Smithville, up by 102 since January. We also have about 130 registered property rights voters, up by 22 since the first of the year so people are interested in the issues and are registering. I encourage them to come out and vote.”

Peterson says May 19th is the deadline for new registrations. "That's voters who have never been registered to vote anywhere in DeKalb County. Others have up until election day to change their address if they are already registered in DeKalb County and moved inside the city limits. I encourage them to go ahead an update their registrations if that’s the case because they will be required on election day to fill out a change of address form if they have not already taken care of that.”

Peterson says May 19th is also the deadline to register as a property rights voter. “The term 'property rights voter’ applies to those people that live inside DeKalb County but outside the city limits and yet they own property inside the city limits. The Smithville Charter does allow property rights voting. It does have a (city property) size requirement of at least 7,500 square feet. I’d like to remind people that we don’t automatically know who owns property inside the city limits. Some people think we have a massive computer system and automatically know who registers a deed, but the offices in the courthouse are not linked like that.”

“They (property rights voters) are required to bring us proof of ownership, such as a deed or a current tax notification. Only two persons per property may register as property rights voters. In other words, if four people own the property, only two out of that four can register as a property rights voter. So they’re going to have to decide among themselves who they want to be able to register and vote the property rights.”

A mayor and two aldermen will be elected on Tuesday, June 17th.

Candidates for mayor are Incumbent Taft Hendrixson and challenger Faye Fuqua.

Aldermen contenders are incumbents Steven White and Cecil Burger and challengers Danny Washer and Alford Webber.

According to Peterson, city candidates have been active this year in getting more people registered. “Candidates have been canvassing the neighborhoods. Many people enjoy meeting the candidates. However, keep in mind we’re living in different times now and some people may not want the candidates to come into their homes. I’ve had a few calls where people have expressed to me that they felt pressured to register to vote or to let the candidates in. I’d just like to remind the candidates to be respectful of their wishes and realize that some people may not want them to enter their homes, especially those who may be vulnerable such as the elderly.

Meanwhile, the dates for early voting have been set for the Smithville election. Voting will be held Mondays through Saturdays, May 28th through June 12th in the basement courtroom of the courthouse. Voting hours will be Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Peterson says early voting hours have been extended during this election to better accommodate the voters. “We have had some requests from people to extend our voting hours. We are always interested in the voters comments and suggestions so we’re going to try to do that for this election. Usually we have one late afternoon every Thursday from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.. During this early voting period we’ll have two late afternoons of early voting. That’ll be every Tuesday and Thursday from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.. The other days during the week, voting will be from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.

On election day, the polls will be open from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. also in the basement of the courthouse.

Two Micro Vote Infinity machines will be used during early voting. Two machines will also be used on election day.

Peterson reminds candidates that the election commission will enforce the 100 foot boundary during early voting and on election day. Candidates will not be permitted within the 100 foot boundary. “There will be a 100 foot boundary enforced from all entrances of the courthouse, not just the basement entrance. That is what the election law states and that is what we will be following. We had so many positive comments from the last election. The voters really showed a big support for the election commission’s decision to enforce that boundary. From the basement entrance, the 100 foot boundary would actually end in the middle of the street. Of course we can’t have candidates standing in the middle of the street so the boundary is extended to the other side of the street.”

Peterson urges voters to study a sample ballot before election day. “People may want to keep an eye out for the local papers. There will be a sample ballot published before long. We also have a website. It is dekalbelections.com and there are sample ballots published there as well as other information. I encourage people to become informed and find out about the candidates and the issues and then turn out and vote. Again, we would like a good turn out.”

Families and Friends of DeKalb County Use Hearts and Feet to Fight Cancer

May 2, 2008

In its 11th year, citizens form all parts of DeKalb County will go around the track at beautiful Greenbrook Park in the battle against cancer during the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of DeKalb County.

Teams of DeKalb County residents will gather at Greenbrook Park on May 9th at 6:00 pm for an overnight relay against cancer. Relay For Life is a family-oriented team event where participants walk relay-style around the track and take part in fun activities off the track. Teams can include coworkers, club members, family and friends and have gathered donations prior to the event. Live music, food, games, & fun are offered for everyone.

This year 31 teams have joined together to raise money to aid in the battle against cancer.
“Relay For Life is a unique opportunity for our community to come together to celebrate people who have battled cancer, remember those we’ve lost, and fight back against the disease,” said Chris Summers, Community Representative with the American Cancer Society. “Many of the participants are cancer survivors (anyone who has ever been diagnosed with cancer), which serves as a reminder that our community is not immune to this disease and we can actually help our friends, families and neighbors that have been touched by cancer,” Chris added.

The public is also invited to attend the Luminaria Ceremony, which will take place after sundown at 9:00 pm. To honor the community’s cancer survivors and to remember those lost to the disease, citizens will circle the track rimmed with glowing luminaria while the names of survivors and those lost to the disease are acknowledged. Luminaria can be purchased for $5.00 by calling Melanie Judkins at (615) 597 1132.

Funds raised at Relay For Life will enable the American Cancer Society to support local services and resources for cancer patients and their families. Funds also support critical cancer research and community education programs designed to teach people how to reduce their risk of developing cancer.

The American Cancer Society has to date spent over 9 million on cancer research in our state in 2008! This money is raised by over 130 Relay For Life events across Tennessee in communities that care about fighting cancer.

For the 2008-2009 academic year, the Mid-South Division of the American Cancer Society will award 218 scholarships in the amount of $1,000.00 each to some very deserving young students. Since the beginning of this program in 2001, more than 1,300 of these $1,000.00 scholarships have been awarded.

Eaton Airlifted After Thursday Morning Wreck

May 1, 2008
Dwayne Page

A 53 year old woman was injured in a pickup truck wreck around 8:10 a.m.Thursday morning on Jacob's Pillar Road.

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Teresa Lynn Eaton of 4640 Blue Springs Road was driving north on Jacobs Pillar Road in a 1985 Ford F-150 when she went off the roadway to the right into a ditchline, traveled north of the ditchline until she struck a metal culvert, and then came back out onto the roadway. The truck then exited the road to the left and made head-on impact with a large tree. She was not wearing a seatbelt.

Eaton was airlifted from the scene by a Life Force helicopter ambulance and flown to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga.

DeKalb EMS treated Eaton at the scene.

Meanwhile, two people were injured in an accident around 5:55 p.m. Tuesday on West Broad Street near DeKalb Community Bank.

Smithville Police say 70 year old Willie Louise Jones of 224 Vickers Hollow Road, Smithville was driving a 2005 Chevrolet Cavalier, crossing West Broad Street going south toward Dry Creek Road, when her car was hit in the passenger side door by a 2007 Ford Fusion, driven by 32 year old Debbie Jean Herman of 599 Foster Road, McMinnville. Herman was east on Broad Street. 13 year old Mark Ryan Stanley of McMinnville was a passenger of the Herman vehicle. He wasn't believed to have been injured.

Both Jones and Herman were taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital. Jones was reportedly later airlifted by a helicopter ambulance to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga.

The accident was investigated by Officer Travis Bryant of the Smithville Police Department.

Smithville Police Charge Two in Recent Burglary and Theft

April 30, 2008
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police arrested two people on burglary and theft charges last week.

Chief Richard Jennings says 18 year old Amanda Brook and 20 year old Troy Allen Lee Cunningham, Jr. are charged with burglary to a motor vehicle and theft of property under $500.

The two allegedly entered a vehicle at 848 Foster Road on Wednesday, April 23 belonging to Glenda Witty and removed a JVC CD player without the owner’s knowledge or consent. Both will appear in General Sessions Court on the charges May 29th.

Bond for the woman is $5,000 on each charge. Cunningham’s bond is $10,000 on the burglary charge and $5,000 in the theft case.

The CD player has been recovered.

The case was investigated by Detective Sergeant Jerry Hutchins, Jr.

Meanwhile, 24 year old Ryan Lee Walden of Dale Ridge Road, Dowelltown was charged last week with possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond is set at $2,500 and his court date is May 22nd.

Officer Randy King, in his report, states that “ On April 23rd, I was dispatched to Anthony Avenue in reference to a suspicious person. Dispatch advised that the subject was walking door to door asking to pressure wash homes or to mow lawns. I observed a subject fitting the description stopping traffic on J.E. Evins Avenue. I approached Walden in the parking lot of the Habitat for Humanity Restore on Miller Road. I asked Walden if he had been going door to door asking to pressure wash homes. Walden replied that he had. Walden was acting evasive while I was speaking to him. I asked if he had any weapons or drugs on him. He replied that he had a needle in his front left pocket. I asked him if it was capped and he said it was. Walden said he found the needle in a yard. The hypodermic needle contained a yellow residue with blood in the syringe.

Walden was taken into custody and charged in the case.

In other cases, 43 year old Diane Woodside McIntyre of Clarksville was charged on Friday with a first offense of driving on a suspended license. Her bond is $1,000 and her court date is May 14th

Officer Bradley Tatrow stopped a vehicle on East Broad for speeding 52 miles per hour in a 40 miles per hour speed zone. McIntyre told the officer that her license was suspended. A computer check showed that the license was suspended for failure to satisfy a citation in Rutherford County.

20 year old Justin Andrew Cantrell of Adcock Cemetery Road was charged Saturday with a first offense of driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is May 8th.

Officer Tatrow observed a vehicle on Highway 70 east with no head lights and the tags were displayed in the back window. After stopping the vehicle, Cantrell got out and was very unsteady on his feet. He had slurred speech and his motor skills were very slow. Cantrell performed several field sobriety tasks which he performed poorly. He submitted to a blood alcohol test.

30 year old Jores Trijo of Luttrell Avenue was charged Sunday with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and his court date is May 8th.

Officer Tatrow, in his report, states that he responded to 817 Luttrell Avenue to a possible domestic between an Hispanic male and a female. Upon arrival, I made contact with the female. The woman advised me that she had gone to Cookeville to see her 14 year old son. Upon her return, the woman’s boyfriend, Trijo, who had been drinking, had gotten mad at her thinking she was cheating on him. Trijo allegedly grabbed her by the shoulder forcing her onto the bed. The woman claims that Trijo was yelling and calling her names and that he threatens bodily harm to her on a regular basis. Trijo was placed under arrest and charged with domestic assault.

23 year old Wallace Marlon Rackley of North Congress Boulevard was charged Sunday with aggravated assault. He is under a $3,500 bond and his court date is June 5th.

Officer Matt Farmer, in his report, states that Rackley is charged with assaulting Amiel John Land by hitting him with his fists several times and kicking him in the ribs. Mr. Rackley allegedly came home and began yelling at Mr. Land ordering him to leave. As Land was trying to get out the back door, Rackley jumped him and hit Land several times. When Land got outside, Rackley came out and began kicking and hitting him again. Land was taken to the hospital where he was treated for several cuts and bruises to the face and head area. He had to have stitches to his left eye and his left jaw was broken.

29 year old Kenny Wayne Bly of Midway Road, Smithville was arrested last week for a fourth offense of driving on a revoked license. His bond is $4,500

Officer Matt Holmes, in his report, states that he observed Bly operating a motor vehicle on West Broad Street. Having prior knowledge that his license was revoked, Officer Holmes stopped Bly. A computer check confirmed that his license was revoked.

18 year old Wesley Tolbert Young of Woodbury was charged Thursday with a first offense of driving under the influence and underage consumption of alcohol. His bond is $2,500 and his court date is May 1st.

Sergeant Joey Jones states that he stopped a vehicle at South Mountain and Miller Road for failure to maintain the proper lane of traffic. Upon speaking to the driver, Young, Officer Jones noticed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was very unsteady on his feet. Young was asked to perform several field sobriety tasks which he performed poorly. He allegedly admitted to drinking 2-24 ounce beers and he did take a breathalyzer test and the result was .09.

21 year old Angel R. Farless of McMinnville was charged with unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia and simple possession of marijuana. Her bond is $1,000 and her court date is May 1st.

Farless was a passenger of a vehicle in which the driver, Wesley Young, was arrested for DUI. Officer Jones observed a glass pipe on the seat near her purse with residue in the pipe. She was also in possession of marijuana and had an open container of an alcoholic beverage under her seat. Her purse contained a small baggie with a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana.

24 year old Daniel Ray Wilson of Dowelltown was charged Monday with a first offense of driving under the influence. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court May 14th.

Officer Travis Bryant states that he was dispatched to an accident on Riley Avenue. The driver, Wilson, was very unsteady on his feet, had slurred speech, and had bloodshot eyes. Wilson stated that he drank two beers. He was transported to the hospital and due to this, Wilson was not asked to perform field sobriety tasks. He also refused to submit to a blood alcohol test.

Sheriff and DTC Communications Issue Warning About Scam

April 30, 2008

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and DTC Communications have issued a warning about a scam involving e-mails requesting your personal DTC Communications Customer Information such as Username, Password or other vital credentials.

Officials say these messages DO NOT come from DTC Communications. Please DO NOT reply to these type messages or send any confidential information.

They say DTC Communications will NEVER send e-mail requesting your information. Also remember, any correspondence from DTC will include a local contact phone number for you to call in case you have any questions about the content of the email.

If you have received one of these type messages, please DELETE it. Do NOT reply to it. DTC has taken steps to prevent messages of this type from coming to you the user. However, if you do receive one, it is an attempt to obtain your personal information.

If you have any questions, please do not reply to this email, simply send your questions to support@dtccom.net or call Technical Support at 615.683.4033 or 866.232.8010.

Eagle Scout Anderson Webb Honored by County Commission

April 28, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Commission Monday night adopted a resolution honoring Eagle Scout Anderson Webb.

County Mayor Mike Foster, in reviewing Webb's Scouting Experience, said "Anderson has been involved in Scouting since Tiger Cubs in 1st Grade. His fondest memories of his time in Cub Scouts are the camping trips with family and friends and his participation in the Pinewood Derby Races."

"After completing the requirements in Cub Scouts, Anderson received the highest rank in Cub Scouts, the Arrow of Light, in 2001. He then advanced to the Boy Scouts of America in 6th Grade where he would learn to be prepared."

"While finishing the requirements for his Life Scout, the last ranking before Eagle, Anderson began to think about his Eagle project. He chose a project that would benefit the entire community and something he felt was useful to the community. By choosing to provide seating at Greenbrook Park, he knew he would have the opportunity to increase the accessibility to the amphitheater."

"After receiving the Eagle Scout Rank, the highest rank in BSA, Anderson says he has learned skills that will benefit him throughout his life including responsibility, persistence, and organization skills. According to Anderson, ‘Eagle Scout projects take a long time and a lot of planning. Through working on my Eagle Project, I have become a more accomplished and well-rounded person.'

"Though he has successfully completed his Eagle Scout rank, Anderson looks forward to staying involved in BSA. He is looking forward to his 14 day trek through the mountains of Northern New Mexico at Philmont this summer."

The resolution honoring Webb states that " Whereas, it is fitting that the DeKalb County Commission and the DeKalb County Mayor should announce their pride, respect, and honor in the young people of our community who so capably fulfill their requirements and duties to reach lofty goals and levels of achievement."

"Whereas, Anderson Webb has performed all the years of tasks to work his way to the highest honor bestowed by the Boy Scouts. Anderson Webb has climbed to a level in scouting reached by only a very select few, and has earned the Eagle Award."

"Whereas, the DeKalb County Commission and County Mayor wish to thank Anderson Webb, his family and leaders for the honors they have brought to themselves and DeKalb County. We also wish to thank the fellow Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, and volunteers who helped Anderson complete his project. Anderson and his assistants built seating at the amphitheater in Greenbrook Park. This seating will be used for many, many years and stand as a monument to them. It will also show their commitment to give to their community and their willingness to serve."

"Now therefore be it resolved by the DeKalb County Commission, that May 4th, 2008 be officially named Eagle Scout Anderson Webb Day.'

"Be it further resolved that this accomplishment be spread across the records of this meeting and preserved as a lasting part of our appreciation to Eagle Scout Anderson Webb."

School Board Seeks Approval from County Commission to Purchase Property for New High School

April 28, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education wants to purchase at least 60 acres and possibly 80 to 100 acres of land for construction of a new high school. However, the county commission must first grant approval.

With that in mind, Director of Schools Mark Willoughby and School Board Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins III addressed the county commission Monday night to formally make the request for funding once a suitable site has been located. Design consultant David Brown of Kaatz, Binkley, Jones, and Morris Architects, Incorporated of Mount Juliet and Knoxville also addressed the commission about the proposed school building project

County Mayor Mike Foster and the county commission listened to the request and some members asked questions but they gave no assurances. Foster said the issue will first have to be taken up by the county budget committee, which will begin having meetings May 15th on the proposed budget for 2008-09.

Willoughby and Evins urged the commission to consider authorizing funding for the land purchase soon noting that property values are ever increasing, and the costs to the county would be significantly more later.

Evins, in his remarks to the commission, said "This kind of project can't happen overnight. What we're really here tonight to ask for is consideration to look at phase I which would be the purchase of some land. I don't think we could go wrong buying real estate. I'm not trying to get the cart before the horse, but you're the funding body and we're not going to go out and look at a lot of land until we've got an ok and go ahead from the commission. The longer we wait, the higher land prices get."

Willoughy says the high school is already over crowded and the problem will only get worse with time. "Right now there are 796 students in DeKalb County High School. With no growth. If everybody just stays in the school system, nobody comes and nobody leaves, next year there will be 847 students. The following year there will be 873 students. By the time the first grade gets up to high school, there will be 945 students at DeKalb County High School. It's going to be pretty hard getting through the hallways with that many people. We have been growing at a steady pace of over 3%."

Brown says three proposed sites are under consideration in the proximity of the existing high school. "The next thing that needs to happen in the process is to look at location. We're looking at three different properties right now. We're doing our evaluation on all three. The ideal time line is for us to go through this evaluation and exercise and then go back to the school board in May and present them with that information and I expect it will be enough information for them to make a decision and have a recommendation and then to bring that recommendation back to this body (commision) with the intent being able to go ahead and purchase the property and move ahead with the project. A few of the things we'll look at is the total acreage along with any adjacent land that's available for expansion. Then there's the land acquisition cost and the cost to develop the site. There's environmental issues. Are there wetlands or anything we need to work around? Geotechnical information. What's the soil like? Is it rock? Is it clay? Is it dirt? Just what is it? Grading and drainage. What kind of storm water detention might we be looking at? Erosion control. Does the site have existing grading and drainage issues?. Transportation. Is there sufficient access to public roads? Utilities. Is there water, power, and sewer. We want to make sure that infrastructure around this location can support a school of this kind."

"We're conceiving of 1200 students and that means that the gymnasium, the cafeteria, the kitchen, the media center, all of those core spaces will be designed to handle that many students. That does not mean you have to build that many classrooms up front. The school will be designed so that as you grow in the future you can add those classrooms. We might be in the 1,000 student range when we open the building but it will be expandable by about another 200 students at least. I would be very concerned with anything under 60 acres because in addition to the school there's the normal suite of athletic facilities and ballfields, which is typically a football stadium with track, a practice field, baseball, softball, soccer, and possibly a tennis court and a band practice field. We can make all that happen on 60 acres but it's not uncommon for our clients to go 80 acres or more depending on how much event parking they want or if they want to put another school on that same campus someday, which we are doing more and more of because land is becoming harder to find and it's becoming more expensive."

The DeKalb County Board of Education, last fall, announced plans for a school building program to meet existing and future space and curriculum needs.

Under consideration is a proposal to build a new high school for grades 9 to 12, renovate the existing high school making it into the new location for DeKalb Middle school for grades 5-8, make renovations and additions to DeKalb West School, make Northside Elementary a school for grades 2 to 4, and make Smithville Elementary a school for Pre-K and first grade. The total project cost is between $34-million and $40-million dollars.

The architects have proposed that a new high school be built for grades 9 to 12. This facility would not only address the space and curriculum needs at the high school level but would also avoid large addition/renovation projects at the middle school and elementary schools. The approximate student population would be 850 with a core capacity of 1,200 for a core utilization of 70% and an average of 212 students per grade. A new 1,200 student high school facility (with athletic fields) would cost $28-million to $32-million dollars.

The plan calls for renovation of the existing high school into a grade 5-8 DeKalb Middle School with an approximate population of 675 and a core capacity of 1,000 with a core utilization of 68% and an average of 168 students per grade.

Willoughby says the existing DeKalb Middle School building could be used by the county as a civic center, complete with kitchen and dining facilities, auditorium, and plenty of meeting rooms.

According to the study, DeKalb West would remain a Pre-K to eighth grade school but there would be additions and renovations to increase the core capacity of the school. The plan calls for the kitchen/cafeteria to either be expanded or replaced as well as the addition of four classrooms. The approximate population would be 428 with a core capacity of 600, a core utilization of 71%, and an average of 48 students per grade. The proposed addition would increase the core capacity. The estimated cost of making the addition to DeKalb West including a new kitchen/cafeteria, classrooms, and administration would be $1.5 million to $2- million dollars.

Northside Elementary would become a school for grades 2 to 4. The second grade would be moved from Smithville Elementary and the fifth grade would go from Northside to DeKalb Middle School. This would relieve the pressure on SES without requiring an addition at Northside. The approximate population at Northside would be 508 with a core capacity of 750, core utilization of 67%, and an average of 170 students per grade. The renovation at Smithville Elementary, Northside, and DeKalb Middle Schools is projected to be $750,000 to $1.5 million dollars.

By moving the second grade to Northside Elementary, Smithville Elementary's student population would be back within the natural core capacity of the school without an addition, although some minor renovation would still be needed. The approximate student population at SES would be 477, the core capacity 528 and the core utilization would be at 90%.

Again, the preliminary budget to fund this project comes to $34-million to $40-million which includes, in addition to the construction costs, $650,000 to $750,000 for furniture and equipment; $500,000 to $600,000 for technology; $1.8 million to $2.2 million in fees for site survey, geotechnical, civil engineering, environmental, fire marshal, legal, design, printing and a 3% contingency of $900,000 to $1 million dollars.

The budget figures do not include additional code required upgrades to existing facilities and do not include land acquisition costs. The figures may change based on site survey, environmental and geotechnical information not yet provided.


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