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By SANDIE BANKS
A proposal to renovate Richard B. Cartmell Elementary School into a middle school for grades six through eight would cost more than $10 million, according to a consultant for the Carroll County Board of Education.
The idea was one of the several proposed by a steering committee formed to determine the best way to accommodate a growing student population in the district, said Superintendent Lisa James.
Putting the middle school on the high school campus would enable middle school students to participate in high school programs and the new conditioning center on Ware Avenue. Fourth and fifth grades would be moved to the middle school on Fifth Street.
There are “so many benefits” to the middle school being near the high school, said board member Mona Kindoll, who also is a member of the steering committee.
But the cost might mean the idea will be scrapped; renovating the school for third, fourth and fifth grades would cost about half that amount, said Ron Murrell of Ross Tarrant Architects.
Murrell said the Kentucky Department of Education requires more square-footage and a much larger gymnasium for a middle school than it does for an elementary school.
In either case, the “media center is too small, and the kitchen is small and outdated,” he said. A “whole new gym would also have to be added ... [and the] administration suite is undersized.”
Murrell said the building could be expanded on the north side, but the “gym remains your main issue.”
However, Murrell pointed out that at $10 million, renovating Cartmell into a middle school would be less than the extimated $16 million it would cost to build a new one.
But, Murrell predicted a new building would be a tough sell to KDE. Another issue, he said, is land. “If you did find it, what would it cost you?”
Murrell, however, encouraged the board to send the plans to Mark Ryles, a facility planner with KDE “See if he wants to weigh in.”
School Board Chairman Rob Riley said he wants to continue the coversation regarding what avenue the board wants to pursue.”