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Smaller ag barn design proposed
Ag Barn Update1.jpg
Architect Allen Hill of Upland Design Group shows School Board members the agriculture barn redesign. - photo by Lacy Garrison

A new, smaller agriculture barn redesign has been presented to the School Board.

Allen Hill of Upland Design Group described the 32-foot by 60-foot structure with a 12-foot overhang with 10-foot column spacing. The basic structure would be unenclosed. Hill explained that this design was the most economical and asked permission to proceed to document and put the project out to bid.

“Tennessee Code requires anything over $100,000 requires a bond,” said Hill. “We’re thinking that the previous project may have scared some contractors off because over that threshold you would have to provide bond and some people may not have wanted to go through that paperwork.”

In the original plans, the estimated barn cost was $100,000, but the bids came back higher than expected – FTM with $144,255 and King Construction with $289,000.

In the new design, any lighting or plumbing would be done by school maintenance and there would be no heating because there’s no walls. 

Board members expressed the need for an enclosed space with heating and cooling, including James Bennett.

“I just hate for us to have a barn with no sides to it,” said Bennett. “These kids going out there in the winter or summer. It needs to have that. I feel like we need to do that.”

Board member Teddy Jones said, “The plan now is we’re building a good skeleton in order to move forward.”

According to Director of Schools Bobby Cox, once the bids come in, they’ll see if Warren County Schools maintenance staff can assist with the walls inside and outside as well as the wiring, plumbing, and utilities. Cox also shared a fire marshal example to illustrate the type of issues they’re being confronted with.

“Allen is doing a similar structure in another county at a community college and it has no walls so it is a pole barn with a roof or you can call it a shed, but the fire marshal is requiring it have exit signs,” said Cox. “It’s open all the way around so that’s the kind of stuff we are dealing with right now.”

After further discussion, the School Board voted to authorize the request for bids.

However, in a recent update from Cox after the Board meeting, the size of the barn has been revised.

“We will be bidding a 40 x 60 structure due to safety concerns,” said Cox. “We will then get a price on the base shell of the barn then see if the board is interested in adding money to the project to complete in addition to what has been raised by the alumni association.”

According to Danielle Smith, WCHS Agriculture Education and FFA advisor, the organization has raised around $25,000, which has been sitting in an account. Smith also mentioned at a previous board meeting that they believe they can come up with $50,000 in the near future if necessary.

The board is awaiting bids at this time.