Roane County School Board votes to consolidate three high schools

ROANE COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Roane County School Board voted 8-1 Wednesday evening to consolidate three high schools, Rockwood High, Harriman High and Roane County High, while funding projects to update Oliver Springs High and Midway High at their respective buildings.

The vote of approval for the $41-45 million plan comes nearly a month after the school board voted not to consolidate all five county high schools.

Sam Cox of the Roane County School Board, representing Districts 3 and 4, said the proposal was based on the idea of merging the schools geographically located near the center of the county. He said students from the outlying schools, Oliver Springs and Midway, would face commutes of up to an hour or an hour and a half to and from school if they were to consolidate all five schools into one.

"It did make economical sense," Cox said of the reasoning behind his positive vote for the proposal. "We're going to save on the annual operating costs about $1.1 million."

Work under the proposal would fund the new building, along with renovations and updates to Oliver Springs and Midway.

With a positive vote from the school board, the architects behind the project will draft preliminary designs to submit to the county commission for funding. Once submitted, the county commission will decide whether or not the project will go forward.

"We've had a lot of community input, we've had surveys out and a lot of things," Cox said. "We've tried to do what we thought was best for the students."