By JIM BROOKS
Nelson County Gazette / Radio WBRT
Friday December 3, 2021 – As expected, the Nelson County School Board approved the draft District Facilities Plan (DFP) approved by the local planning committee on Wednesday evening.
The vote was not, however, unanimous. Council member Diane Berry expressed the only “no” against the DFP’s approval. Berry made no comment to the reporter when asked about her vote against the facility plan.
The vote came after a presentation that provided board members with an overview of the draft facilities plan by Stephen Ward, an architect at Louisville-based Studio Kremer.
Ward told council that just because a project is included in the facilities plan does not mean that council is required to complete that project. The development plan simply offers the board of directors a list of projects and their priority. And although a local planning committee should meet every four years, it can meet any time an existing facilities plan needs to be revised.
Board members Diane Berry and Diane Breeding have both expressed concern over the separation of middle school and high school students once they are on the same campuses. Ward told the board that the facilities plan has a broader scope and that details like this are up to the board to spell out when projects are planned and funded.
Amy Owens, District Finance Director and LPC member, showed the board how the district has seen state funding decline in recent years and looked at the savings the facilities plan could bring to the district. . Looking ahead, she told the board that the district will not have funding to continue supporting as many school buildings as it currently uses.
Since the new facilities plan could result in the closure of Bloomfield Middle School, Diane Breeding, a board member, said the district needs to ensure the school remains “a living and breathing part. from the community”.
Board member Damon Jackey refuted what he called “outright lies” widespread in the community that the district has already pledged at Isiaih House to purchase the middle school building Bloomfield once it’s empty.
Jackey reminded the audience that the board would never allow the school to be used for questionable purposes when it is located next to an existing elementary school.
PUBLIC HEARING GROUP. The board voted unanimously to schedule the public hearing on the new district facilities plan for 6 p.m. on Monday, December 20, 2021, at Thomas Nelson High School. The council also approved the appointment of the district finance director as a hearing officer.