The Shelby County (Tenn.) School District plans to spend a record-setting amount on construction and maintenance projects in 2019.
The Memphis Commercial-Appeal reports that the district has 50 projects scheduled for next year after being awarded $90.2 million in capital funding by the Shelby County Commission.
“This recent award has allowed us to build new schools and increase our capacity, especially in schools with increased allotment,” says Natalia Powers, the district's chief of communications. “Since we have been addressing our deferred maintenance needs more consistently over the last few years, we have now reached a point in which we can create better learning environments for our students by improving classrooms and building more gyms in many of our schools."
Those deferred maintenance needs mounted to more than $500 million, says Powers.
Future projects include 38 maintenance repairs, classroom and gym additions at 10 schools, and two "21st-century" school constructions — Goodlett Elementary and Alcy Elementary, which are expected to be completed by 2019 and 2020, respectively.
Kirby High School, which was recently closed because of a rodent infestation, also will receive improvements. The district plans to add new interior and exterior paint, ceiling tiles, lighting and a greenhouse.
“Last month our facilities and maintenance team began inspecting all buildings, prioritizing schools with greenhouses and exterior gardens,” Powers says. “We also focused on tree trimming and maintenance of shrubs and beds to better monitor animal activity on our campuses.”
The $90.2 million in capital funding will exceed the $72.4 million Shelby County Schools spent in 2017, when they completed more than 70 projects, including cafeteria and gym renovations, classroom additions, roofing maintenance, HVAC upgrades and an elevator replacement.