MNPS Plan To Relieve Antioch Overcrowding Concerns Council
by Aundrea Cline-Thomas
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Metro Nashville Public Schools' plan to address the issue of overcrowding in one area of Davidson County has raised some concerns among council members.
Antioch has become one of the fastest growing areas in the county. The influx of new homes has causing overcrowding in some of the local schools.
Lakeview Elementary Design Center off Bell Road has over 200 more students than the school was built for.
"Currently I have 889 students," said Principal Dr. Robin Shumate. "The building is actually built for 650 (students)."
To say Lakeview has been bursting at the seams is an understatement, according to some parents.
"When you're seeing 21, 22, 23 students in a classroom, that's way too many," said parent Brenda Chambers.
The growth in the area has shown no signs of slowing down.
"They just keep coming," said Shumate. "We register at least six to ten (new) students almost every week."
"We love this school, but we need a new school bottom line," said Chambers.
MNPS has chosen a site in an area with a high concentration of students on Smith Springs Road for a new elementary and middle school.
"We want the schools. We need the schools and we absolutely support the schools," said Robert Duvall District 33 council member.
Duvall has joined other council members to express concern to the school board about the safety os Smith Spring Road.
"The last thing we want is for one of our children to be killed, or hurt in any way," Duvall said.
Smith Spring Road is only two lanes with no sidewalks for children who may have to walk to school. Increased traffic has been another problem council members were concerned Metro has not considered.
"This roadway, in the mornings particularly, will back up all the way to this four-way stop sign sometimes and it's absolutely horrible to get off at what we call the peninsula," Duvall said.
Council members have been meeting with the school board because the need for a new school is undeniable. Metro Schools agreed to look at what the added costs would be to address the safety issues.
"Let's find a way to do it so these children and the people that live here have a safe way to commute," Duvall said.
The solution, council members said, was not to necessarily move the location of the new schools, but they do want to make sure a comprehensive plan was in place before the schools are built, that not only considers the needs to the district but the entire neighborhood.
The community will get an update at a meeting that's expected to be scheduled in the coming weeks.