Lakeland School Board Approves Middle School Plan

A year to the day after the Lakeland School Board voted on June 3, 2014 to proceed with a Capital Improvement Plan for a new middle school, they did it again.

Forced to re-group after the April 16 defeat of  a resolution to issue municipal bonds, Lakeland Superintendent presented a revised CIP request at the June 1 work session.

Slide1 Slide2 Slide3 Slide4 Slide5 Slide6 Slide7 Slide8 Slide9 Slide10 Slide11The proposed Lakeland Middle sits on the same 94-acre property considered for the 6-12 grade Lakeland Prep, but comes with a price tag just under $20 million—a $30 million reduction from the  joint middle/high school plan.

Lakeland Superintendent Dr. Ted Horrell confirmed that the purchase of the property from landowner Rudolph Jones will proceed.

The school system has sent a letter to Jones indicating that they are ready for to move forward with a sale/purchase agreement, Horrell said.

Horrell also clarified that the land purchase will not be made with CIP funds from the Shelby County Commission. A request to transfer funds awarded to LSS last year for a new roof at Lakeland Elementary to the land purchase has been rescinded after the bond referendum defeat.

At the June 3 board meeting, Lakeland Superintendent Horrell stated how the school system was able to present a middle-school-only alternative so quickly.

“We had done a tremendous amount of information gathering” as part of the planning process for Lakeland Prep, he said.

In fact, Horrell stated that system had even considered before what it would cost to build Lakeland Prep in two phases.

Horrell is confident that operating a middle school is financially feasible for LSS. As proposed, Lakeland Middle will house approximately 900 students in grades 5-8 and open in August 2018.

Horrell described moving the 5th graders currently housed at Lakeland Elementary to the new middle school as a “win-win.” because it would make the operation of the middle school building  financially feasible.

At Lakeland Elementary, it would allow for “significant growth” and all elementary-school aged Lakeland students would attend Lakeland Elementary School, eliminating the current zoning for Donelson Elementary in Arlington.

While the proposed design for Lakeland Middle indicates the location of a future high school, Horrell emphasized that he considers that to be “12-15-20 years from now.”

“There is no part of this that is a back-door plan to built a high school,” he said.

‘We feel that we have more than enough students to have a middle school. We feel like that is in our best interest,” Horrell said.

The  five school board members unanimously agreed. The plan will be presented to the Board of Commissioners on June 4.


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