Sullivan County considering bullet resistant glass in new schools; new amenities

The plan for the new Sullivan County High School near the Tri-Cities airport. (Thomas Gray/WCYB)

Keeping students safe is one of the items Sullivan County school leaders are looking at as they make plans for new schools.

That includes the new Sullivan East Middle School. Superintendent Evelyn Rafalowski said the Board of Education has received two proposals for construction of the $20 million middle school. The school board meets next week and is expected to choose a constructor.

"The bids are within that budget," Rafalowski said.

The school will feature an open learning commons space for students to study, as well as the county's first middle school flex labs, which will be for stem and technology programs. The $60 million high school will also have several new features, including on-site bank and a student run cafe.

"We have larger spaces, we have more square footage, we have a football stadium, we have the baseball and softball, as well as soccer, band practice," Rafalowski said.

Security is a top concern. The schools will have secured entrances and exits, and the board is also exploring the cost to install bullet resistant glass. Rafalowski also wants a county deputy on each site.

"We have SRO's on our high school campuses,” Rafalowski said. “We certainly will continue that at our new high school, and hopefully have an SRO at the middle school as well.

With student enrollment dropping, County Mayor Richard Venable is convinced school consolidation will save the county money.

"We don't need to maintain a million and a half square feet for 500 students,” Venable said. “It just doesn't make sense."

The Board of Education will launch a public survey on the name and mascot for the new high school before making a decision in March.

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