published Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Hamilton County holds $2.1 million from school sale

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    Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger speaks in this file photo.
    Photo by Doug Strickland.
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At an agenda session Wednesday, Hamilton County commissioners also considered:

• A contract for the sheriff's office to provide police services for the city of Lakesite. Lakesite would reimburse the county for two new vehicles to police the area for a three-year period.

• A $60,000 contract from the city for the county courts' community service program to provide litter pickup in the city. They also considered a similar $185,230 grant from the state to fund the same program.

• Buying printers and materials for the Hamilton County Clerk's Office to be able to print vehicle tag decals in-house. The supplies cost $26,200, but the county would cover $11,000 and the state would pick up the rest.

The Hamilton County Schools system is $2.1 million closer to its next building project. But board members will need to sell their projects to county commissioners before a dime gets spent.

County Mayor Jim Coppinger said Wednesday at a commission agenda session that the county has collected $2.1 million for the old Ooltewah Elementary facility, which has been vacant since May 2013.

Based on resolutions passed in 2004 and 2011, the money from the sale can be spent only on a short list of capital school projects. A majority of the school board and the commission must agree on the project before any money can be spent.

A company called Benchmark bought the property and plans to set up shop in the building after a few renovations, Coppinger said after the meeting.

"It could go for new building sites, which would be property purchases, or improvements to existing buildings -- or new buildings," Coppinger said.

Commissioners also will vote next week on architects to build a new elementary school and additions at three other schools the commission agreed to fund in March.

According to the proposed resolution, the Ganns Middle Valley Elementary job would go to Derthick, Henley & Wilkerson Architects. Franklin Architects would get the Nolan Elementary School addition. Hefferlin + Kronenberg Architects would add to Sale Creek Middle/High School, and Billingsley Architecture would expand Wolftever Elementary School.

Also next week, commissioners likely will vote to sell 4.2 acres of the old Army Reserve Center in the 2000 block of East 23rd Street that it owns jointly with the city. The city must approve that sale, as well.

Commissioner Fred Skillern said Wednesday the commission was likely to approve a $157,348 proposal from Rocky Top Enterprises, a truck manufacturing company, for that property.

Contact staff writer Louie Brogdon at or at 423-757-6481.

about Louie Brogdon...

Louie Brogdon began reporting with the Chattanooga Times Free Press in February 2013. Before he came to the Scenic City, Louie lived on St. Simons Island, Ga. and covered crime, courts, environment and government at the Brunswick News, a 17,000-circulation daily on the Georgia coast. While there, he was awarded for investigative reporting on police discipline and other law enforcement issues by the Georgia Press Association. For the Times Free Press, Louie covers Hamilton County ...

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