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The Carter County School System plans to make Hunter Elementary the largest elementary school in the district. | News

ELIZABETHTON — Hunter Elementary School will become the largest elementary school of Carter County’s nine elementary schools. In a recent presentation to the Carter County Commission on Education Committee, Superintendent of Schools Tracy McAbee said the number of students attending Hunter would increase to 925. The school currently has 440 students. The larger capacity would allow additional students to attend Hunter who would have previously attended Unaka Elementary School or Keenburg Elementary School.

To accommodate the additional students, the school system secured a plan to expand the school by an additional 69,000 square feet. The estimated cost of the addition would be around $21 million. Asked about the project and updates, McAbee said Monday that he expects the project to go to tender within weeks.

Estimated costs include $16 million for new additions and $400,000 for renovations to the existing school. Additional costs included would be $450,000 for a sewer upgrade. A new kitchen wing would require the expenditure of $600,000 on kitchen equipment.

Furnishings would cost $150,000. On-site work would cost $800,000.

Expansion plans would provide for a separation between middle school and elementary school functions. This would include a second gymnasium and a stage for the college section. Plans also include a music room, science lab, art room, and resource rooms.

Before submitting the plans to auction, the project is expected to cost around $21 million. The school board plans to use $10.5 million of federal Elementary Schools and Schools 3.0 emergency relief funds for the project. Schools superintendent Tracy McAbee said she hopes the rest of the funding will come from the school system‘s undesignated fund balance.

This fund balance has grown over the past several years and it is hoped that it will continue to grow and provide enough additional funds that the county will not have to borrow to complete the project.

The Carter County School Board gave unanimous support to the expansion plan.

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