It’s been six years since voters in Sevier County approved a $46 million bond.
Sevier School District is now in the early phases of the final construction project that was part of that bond — a complete overhaul of South Sevier Middle School.
“We’ve been able to do a lot of great things,” said Superintendent Cade Douglas. “There’s been great benefits to students in all our attendance areas.”
While perhaps the most visible portion of the bond was the construction of the new Richfield High School/Sevier Career and Technical Education Center, Douglas said the bond has funded infrastructure improvements across the entire district.
“A lot of people don’t realize that close to a third of that building is our CTE center, which benefits students from all three attendance areas,” Douglas said. He said students from South Sevier and North Sevier are bused to the CTE each day for career exploration classes.
• North Sevier — North Sevier High School received several upgrades due to the 2013 bond, including the addition of a band room, wrestling room, a roof replacement and a landscaping upgrade.
Other improvements at NSHS include new bathroom facilities for the school’s softball/baseball fields and a full track and field upgrade.
“It was a full restructuring of everything, they took it right down to the dirt,” said Chad Lloyd, business administrator for the school district. “That track is the best in the district right now.”
Several smaller scale improvements have also been completed at NSHS, including polishing of the concrete floors, a new gym floor, sound system upgrades and the creation of the Wolf cave, which houses the school’s mascot.
North Sevier Middle School received a full gym and new parking lot.
“Parking lots are something people don’t think about, but they are expensive and have to be done,” Douglas said.
• South Sevier — South Sevier High School also received many of the same renovations as North Sevier, including the roof, band room and landscaping upgrade.
“The roofs will last a long time,” Douglas said. Monroe Elementary also received a roof replacement as part of the bond.
SSHS also had some of the same interior upgrades to the school’s sound system, gym floor and Ram cave.
SSHS also received a new parking lot, as well as a resurfacing of the school’s track.
However, the largest project in the south end of the county will be the South Sevier Middle School replacement, which is set to start in the spring of 2020.
The SSMS gym and woodshop will remain, but essentially every other part of the school will be replaced. While it will remain in the same location, the school will have a completely different look and footprint.
“We don’t want to leave empty, derelict buildings, so we build on top of our old ones,” Douglas said. He said the school will be replaced in a phased process, similar to other buildings in the district.
• Richfield — Beyond the new Richfield High School, several other projects have been completed in the central part of the county. RHS’s track was resurfaced last summer.
The very first project completed with the bond was the tennis courts, which are for both school and community use, Douglas said.
The district also purchased ground for a future bleacher expansion at RHS’s track and field complex.
Red Hills Middle School received a parking lot replacement on its west side. A project adjacent to RHMS was a new gravel parking lot, which is utilized to park buses and for high school soccer games.
During the summer months, an outdoor pavilion was built at Ashman Elementary School in Richfield. It started out as a project designed to help keep students waiting for buses out of the rain and snow, but has evolved into something else, Douglas said.
“It’s become part of the school’s reward system,” Douglas said. He said students who meet certain goals are able to eat lunch under the pavilion.
“We also do a lot of smaller projects each summer,” Douglas said. He said paint, carpeting and plumbing projects are all undertaken across the district to address normal wear and tear.
“We’ve done what we promised we would do while keeping the tax rate at or below what we projected in 2013,” Lloyd said.