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By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

Trousdale County’s Education Oversight Committee gave a go-ahead to begin the bidding process for putting a new roof on Jim Satterfield Middle School.

At its Jan. 9 meeting, commissioners authorized the School Board to select an architectural firm to come up with a design plan and start the process of putting the project out for bid.

During budget negotiations last summer, commissioners agreed to shoulder the cost of a roof in exchange for the School Board requesting no new tax money in the current budget or next year’s. The schools will also make the first payment on a roof as part of that agreement.

“It’s OK to go ahead and bid this project so we have some firm numbers… we just can’t pay any money out until the funding mechanism is set in place,” said chairman Dwight Jewell regarding discussions with the state comptroller’s office.

County Mayor Stephen Chambers said he had held talks with the Tennessee Municipal Bond Fund and USDA Rural Development regarding financing the project, but that those discussions were continuing.

A preliminary estimate for a new roof last year from Director of Schools Clint Satterfield was roughly $830,000.

The School Board has money set aside in the current year’s budget for that first payment. It was suggested that the board use those funds toward architectural costs with the expectation that the costs would be reimbursed when the financing is put in place for the total project.

“Once we know what we’ve got to have, we could reimburse you and still get the first year’s payment,” said commissioner Jerry Ford.

“That money has been budgeted and that could be used… We just didn’t want to proceed with the mayor’s knowledge and the committee’s knowledge,” added board member Johnny Kerr.

Satterfield said his hope was to be able to begin work once school is out in May and have the project completed by the start of the new school year in late July.

“I would recommend that we expedite this; we just need some guidance,” Satterfield told commissioners.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or [email protected]