Frequently Asked Questions
Why do we need to renovate Bartlett High School?
The school is in need of some major work. Parts of the campus were built in 1917, and the last major construction project was almost 40 years ago. Our student body is growing every year, and we’re running out of space.
Some of the major issues facing the school are:
- No central entrance
- Overcrowded classrooms
- Accessibility barriers for those with a handicap
- Structural deterioration
- Inefficient mechanical and electrical systems
- Cars and pedestrians traveling the same paths
- Dated library and not easily accessible to students
- Cafeteria can’t accommodate student population
- Gym has limited seating and small court
- 100-year-old auditorium with limited seating and small stage
- Band room dated and too small
- Athletic facilities in need of upgrades
- Lack of parking for students and teachers
We have delayed several maintenance projects that would cost millions of dollars so we could study the best option for the future. We didn’t want to invest a significant amount of money into old buildings and systems if it made more sense to invest those funds into renovating the entire campus.
It’s time to make some major changes to Bartlett High School in order to give our students and our community a high school they can be proud of.
Instead of having a major renovation, why not build a new school?
Over the course of two years, we studied many options for building a new school, including:
- Option 1: Building a new school at a new location for grades 9-12 that would bring all athletics back to campus. Shelby County Schools would take possession of the current BHS campus and the Academy. Price tag: More than $110 million.
- Option 2: Building a new school at a new location for grades 10-12, and relocating the Ninth Grade Academy to the current high school site. Shelby County Schools would take possession of the Academy. Price tag: More than $100 million, not including the updates that would have to be made to the current BHS campus before the Academy could be relocated.
- Option 3: Building a new school at a new location for grades 10-12, and keeping the Academy at its current location. Shelby County Schools would take possession of the current BHS campus. Price tag: $90 million to $100 million.
- Option 4: Expanding the existing campus for grades 9-12 by purchasing property adjacent to the campus, and upgrading existing buildings. Price tag: $80 million to $100 million.
- Option 5: Expanding and updating the existing campus to accommodate 2,250 students in grades 10-12, and keeping the Academy at its current location. Price tag: $55 million to 60 million.
How will this affect the Ninth Grade Academy?
We looked at several options to relocate the Academy to the high school campus. We found the most economical option was to leave the Academy as a stand-alone school, and use the existing campus space to add new buildings to accommodate the growth in student population we expect over the next few years. Additionally, having a stand-alone school for our ninth-graders has proved to be very popular.
What educational opportunities will the new facilities provide that the current ones cannot?
We are blessed to have a high school that offers rigorous courses and outstanding teachers who prepare our students for life after high school whether they chose to go to college or a technical school, join the military, or enter the workforce.
We are lacking classroom space for our STEM program, special education, fine arts and general studies. Current designs add 17 new classrooms, including STEM facilities (two science labs, two science classrooms, two STEM labs) and additional CTE/vocational spaces.
The plan also groups classrooms together by subject area, allowing resources and information to be shared more efficiently. For example, all the fine arts classes would be grouped together in one area or building on the campus. Fine arts will be receiving new rehearsal spaces for band, choir and strings, accompanied in the wing by offices, storage, shared practice rooms, music libraries, theaters and new classrooms. In this way, each of these interconnected classes can work together to improve the student experience.
It’s not enough simply to buy new resources. Renovations will create opportunities by building collaborative and cohesive learning environments.
What kinds of enhanced security measures will be implemented in the new school?
Two of our goals with the renovation are to make one central entrance into the high school and to enclose the open courtyard spaces. Once we establish a main entrance, we can make several improvements and upgrades to our safety and security systems. All the buildings will be connected to each other by adding common spaces, and students will no longer have to go outside to get from class to class.
Will current programs of study change with the new facilities?
We are always looking to add and adjust opportunities for students, but sometimes limited space prevents that from happening. We don’t anticipate any changes to current programs being offered by the school. We hope to be able to add more programs once we have additional classroom space.
Will the new school be able to accommodate more students?
Yes, renovations to Bartlett High School will allow our school to accommodate 2,250 students in grades 10-12.
Will the new design include more parking?
Yes, the renovated campus will have 750 onsite parking spaces. We currently have approximately 330 designated parking spaces on the campus.
How many students attend Bartlett High School?
We are proud so many parents are choosing to send their children to BHS. Bartlett High School is the largest 9-12 combined enrollment high school in Tennessee, and our current capacity is 2,000.
Our enrollment for the 2016-2017 school year is 1,800 students in 10-12 grades.
How much do you expect the student population to grow?
We expect the enrollment to increase significantly the next few years. Our student population estimates are:
|School Year||Grades 10-12||Total Enrollment (9-12)|
Why will this be good for students?
We surveyed students, parents and teachers while we were studying options. The students pointed out the school was looking old, and they really wanted areas where they could gather with their friends when they had free time between classes.
The design under consideration will improve core functions such as a new auditorium, a larger cafeteria, a gym large enough for the entire student body to attend assemblies at the same time, and common areas for students to gather and feel a sense of community. Our new school will give students a sense of pride when they tell people they attend or graduated from Bartlett High School.
What happens if we do nothing?
We can’t afford to do nothing. If this renovation of Bartlett High School doesn’t happen, we will still need to spend millions of dollars on the school. We have several deferred maintenance projects that were put on hold while we studied options to renovate the school or build a new one. Since we are running out of classroom space, we’ll be forced to rent a minimum of 12 portables, estimated to cost $500,000 annually, to accommodate our growing student body.
BUILT FOR BARTLETT
Why is this campaign being proposed now?
When Bartlett City Schools became an independent school system, we knew our high school needed many improvements. This is something we’ve been studying from day one. We have been very methodical about what to do because we knew this would be a huge undertaking for our community. We didn’t want to rush into a decision about the high school until we proved to this community that BCS and the school board have been good stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars. We have had three years of operating under budget, and our school system is on solid financial ground.
Why not wait?
The cost of doing nothing is too high. By 2019, portables will be needed to accommodate our growing student population. In addition, deferred maintenance costs on the existing buildings already exceed $70 million. We can’t afford to wait.
We want to be the high school of choice. We need to renovate the high school and give students, parents and the community the school they deserve.
I don’t have a child in high school. Why should I be invested in this campaign?
Renovating Bartlett High School is good for our community. A more modern high school with a track record of academic excellence will help grow Bartlett’s economy. Young families and businesses are drawn to communities with strong schools. Additionally, property values tend to increase.
How can I stay informed?
There are several ways the community can stay informed:
Can I provide input on the project?
Yes, we encourage you to provide input on the project. There are several ways to share your feedback:
- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Attend our town hall meeting.
- Send a letter to Bartlett City Schools, 5650 Woodlawn St., Bartlett, TN 38134
Attn: Built for Bartlett.
I want to get involved. How can I help?
We want the community to get involved. Here are a few ways you can show your support:
- Join our steering committee!
- Show your BHS pride by attending a town hall meeting or rally.
- Contact your School Board Members, Mayor and Aldermen and ask him or her to support the renovations to Bartlett High School.
How do I contact my elected officials?
The emails and mailing address for the Bartlett’s elected officials are below:
Bartlett City Board of Education
Board of Education, Position 2
Board of Education, Position 3
Board of Education, Vice-Chairman
Board of Education, Position 5
Letters to the school board members may be sent to the following address:
Bartlett City Schools
5650 Woodlawn Street
Bartlett, TN 38134
Bartlett Board of Mayor and Aldermen
A. Keith McDonald
Alderman, Position 1
W.C. (Bubba) Pleasant
Alderman, Position 2
Alderman, Position 3
Alderman, Position 4
Alderman, Position 5
Alderman, Position 6
Letters may be sent to the following address:
City of Bartlett
Attn: The Honorable [Name of elected official]
6400 Stage Road
Bartlett, TN 38134
Whom should I contact if I have questions?
If you have questions about the proposed renovations to Bartlett High School, please send an email to email@example.com, or call the BCS administrative offices at (901) 202-0855.
How much will the renovations cost?
We anticipate the renovations to cost between $55 million and $60 million.
What does the cost of the renovations include?
The renovations include:
- Expanding classroom capacity.
- Creating one main entrance to the school.
- Updating the library, cafeteria, auditorium, fine arts and CTE areas, gymnasium and other athletic facilities.
- Adding lobby spaces between the buildings and making all the buildings under one roof.
- Updating quality of environment and aesthetics.
Is this project going to raise my taxes?
Bartlett City Schools is earmarking $20 million in its operating budget over the next 20 years to help pay for renovations. Mayor McDonald is proposing a $0.35 property tax increase to provide additional funding to fire, police and schools, with $0.14 designated for this project.
Project Financing Summary
- Approximately $3.5M available to service debt annually:
- $1M – Budgeted from school operations (transferred to debt service fund annually)
- $1M – City Local Option Sales Tax Revenues
- $1.5M – Proposed $0.14 from property taxes
- Bond/ Debt proceeds estimated to generate approximately $44M based on the following assumptions:
- 20 Year Term
- Fixed rate debt
Potential Project Funding
- City of Bartlett to consider contributing up to $8M from reserves
- Current reserve levels exceed city’s minimum policy
- Bond/Debt proceeds estimated to generate approximately $44M
- Total construction cost of approximately $52M identified for the project
- Bartlett City Schools to contribute $7M – $10M for Furniture Fixtures & Equipment (FF&E)
- Project Total: approximately $60M
Will the new facilities cost more to maintain?
We think it will cost less to maintain a renovated campus. We have delayed several upgrades and improvements that needed to be made to the campus when we became an independent school district. We are looking at $70 million in deferred maintenance costs if we don’t renovate the campus soon.
What happens next?
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen will be discussing and voting on helping to fund the school renovation project through a property tax increase as part of its normal budget process. The budget has to be voted on three times before it’s approved. It’s imperative for school supporters to contact the mayor and aldermen to ask them to approve the funding needed to renovate Bartlett High School.
Will the construction interfere with my child’s studies?
We are approaching this project in phases, and we are doing it this way in order to cause the least amount of disruption to educating our students. We will undertake projects during the school year, but we will try to use the summer and winter breaks to tackle the projects that could cause the most disruption.
Will the school be safe during construction?
Yes, the school will be safe during construction. The safety of our students, teachers and staff is our number one priority. We expect the construction company to adhere to the highest safety standards while working on the campus of Bartlett High School. We will work with the contractor to ensure they are operating in the safest, least disruptive manner when students, teachers and parents are present.
How long will construction take?
Since we will be approaching the construction in phases in order to not disrupt learning, we estimate that construction should be completed in three years.
What is the construction timeline?
If funding for the renovations is approved by the Bartlett Board of Mayor and Aldermen in June, we should be able to start construction in early 2018.
Will there be less parking at the school during the construction?
We will try to limit the number of parking spaces needed for construction equipment. Again, the safety of our students and facility is our top priority. If we think a parking area is not safe for students and faculty or their vehicles, then we will block off that area.
Where will the high school teams practice and play during construction?
We don’t anticipate any teams being displaced during construction. The safety of our students, coaches and spectators is our number one priority. If construction should cause any safety concerns for our student athletes, we will communicate any practice changes or relocation of games in ample time for parents to plan for these changes.
I live near the school. Will they be working on the school at night?
We anticipate needing to do some construction projects when the students are not present in order to maintain a safe and healthy learning environment. Our crews may be working in the evenings, but not while our neighbors are trying to sleep.