Members of Coffee County Budget and Finance Committee are considering the funding of improvements to the sewer system capabilities of northern Coffee County – specifically the area near I-24’s Exit 105 at North Coffee Elementary School.
The sewer upgrade would require tying onto Manchester’s sewer system and would cost about $750,000.
In November, Coffee County Director of Schools LaDonna McFall requested $25 million for county school-system improvement projects, consisting of two phases.
The first phase is designed to cover immediate needs at an estimated cost of $13 million, and the second phase will come at a price tag of $12 million.
While discussing the first phase of these upgrades on Dec. 19, McFall also asked members of the budget and finance committee to consider upgrading the sewer system at North Coffee Elementary school. The sewer upgrade is not included in the $25 million requested for schools improvements.
“We know that the growth is coming from the Murfreesboro area toward north Coffee,” McFall said. “There has been some discussion of a sewer system out there.”
Not only will upgrading the sewer system improve North Coffee Elementary School, but it will also be beneficial to the entire area near Exit 105, said McFall.
“I would like (the sewer upgrade) to be considered as a part of this project, so we can coordinate and make that happen at the same time, if possible,” McFall said.
Civil engineer Kenny Sadler, of Manchester’s Sadler and Associates, has been involved with creating the improvement plan for the county schools, as well as the sewer system upgrade plan. He presented details to members of budget and finance committee on Dec. 19.
Using preliminary data and numbers from previous projects, Sadler estimated the sewer project to cost up to $750,000.
“Mr. (Tim) Morris and I have been talking for several months about how the county can’t really do much without some type of sewer available (in that area),” Sadler said.
Morris, a member of the budget and finance committee, said that north Coffee County area would greatly benefit from a sewer improvement project.
For the project to be completed, Manchester Water and Sewer Department would have to agree to join the venture.
“North Coffee is an area of growth and the sewer is four miles away,” Sadler said. “We will be running (the lines) four miles for this. We also have an interstate to cross.”
With that distance in mind, Sadler estimated the undertaking to come with a price tag between $650,000 and $750,000.
“But it will be a benefit,” Sadler said. “North Coffee Elementary, as a school, is strapped from a real estate standpoint. They have sewer lines in the front and in the back.”
Currently, there are problems with the sewer system constantly, according to Sadler.
“That’s why Dr. McFall wanted to bring that up,” Sadler said. “When we came up with phase one and phase two, we didn’t look at the sewer capabilities, we just looked specifically at what the schools needed from the school ground standpoint.”
With north Coffee County area growing rapidly, the schools’ improvement project offers a good opportunity to accommodate increasing sewer capabilities in the area, according to Sadler.
“I know Mr. Morris has been a good advocate for (bringing) sewer to north Coffee, and that’s the area where everything is coming; we need it out there. We both have spoken to Mr. (Bryan) Pennington.”
Pennington is director of Manchester Water and Sewer Department and, according to Sadler, would likely support the project.
“They (Manchester Water and Sewer Department) would allow us to run sewer to North Coffee School,” Sadler said. “That will allow for future development as well. It would be sized for additional growth in that area.”
$25 million for school improvements
The sewer system upgrade would likely be included as part of the improvement plan. The expenses for the proposed schools renovation project are expected to reach $25 million, with the renovations to be completed in two phases. The sewer upgrade is not included in the original cost estimates.
Phase one would cost $13 million, and McFall hopes construction for this phase will start within a year. Construction for phase two is expected to begin within three years.
Phase one includes upgrades at North Coffee Elementary. Among the improvements are construction of cafeteria, kitchen, gymnasium and library – a space of about 20,000 square feet.
Additionally, the existing gym, library and cafeteria will be renovated and transformed into space for classrooms and office space.
In the next several months, members of budget and finance committee will discuss opportunities to fund the project. Lauren Lowe, managing director for Public Financial Management (PFM), who advises county officials on financial decisions, will also be involved.
Elena Cawley may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.