Final contract signed to transfer Sullivan North to Kingsport City Schools


The final agreement has been signed to transfer Sullivan North High School from the county's possession to the city of Kingsport.

This is part of Sullivan County's multi-million dollar plan to build one new high school and one new middle school.

"The contract stipulates what we'll leave and what we'll take and what condition we'll leave it in," Sullivan County school board chairman, Michael Hughes said.

The county wants to update its school facilities. So it will close Sullivan North, South and Central to build one new high school and one new middle school.

It will take out $140 million in bonds to pay for the new schools. By state law, both the city of Bristol and Kingsport will receive a share of that bond money.

But in exchange for Sullivan North, Kingsport will only take about half of the $44 million its allotted.

"It's kind of a one time benefit, so we're going to get the $20 million," Hughes said.

That money will go toward building the new county schools. And Kingsport city school leaders said this deal benefits them too.

"Being in a situation where KCS needs middle school space and Sullivan County having facilities that were beyond the seat space they needed, it seemed to be a logical process," KCS Assistant Superintendent, Andy True said.

Kingsport plans to get the building by 2021, then convert it into a middle school.

"We can do it in a way that maximizes what we want to accomplish and provide for our students from an educational standpoint," True said.

While Kingsport is just getting started, Sullivan County is eager to break ground on the two new schools - something it hasn't done in nearly 50 years.

"It's been so long since we've had a new school," Hughes said. "I don't think they know what to expect. I'm really excited to see it finished."

The Sullivan County school board will meet with architects on March 9th.

As for Kingsport, school leaders said once they get the building, it will take about a year to transform it into a middle school. There's no estimate yet on how much those renovations will cost.

But with the bond money, the city also plans to build a new regional science and technology center at Dobyns Bennett High School. True said construction on that could start as early as this Fall, with the facility opening in January 2019.

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