Plans For Smith Springs Road School Move Forward - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Plans For Smith Springs Road School Move Forward

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by Emily Luxen

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Plans for a new elementary school in Antioch have taken a big step forward, much to the disappointment of neighbors who oppose the plan.

Tuesday, Metro Council Members approved the purchase of land along Smith Springs Road for a new elementary school.  

Opponents have posted signs in their yards and collected thousands of signatures on petitions fighting the plan.  They said they were disappointed by Metro Council's vote.

"We were very disheartened," said Sherri Ethridge, who lives across the street from the site. "We saw politics and money come before the people."

Ethridge said she supports the idea of building a new school, but doesn't think Smith Springs Road is the best choice.

"It just does not make sense to us why this is such a highly desired piece of property," said Ethridge. "We're afraid for the children. We do not feel this is a safe location."

Opponents argue building the school along the winding, two-lane road will be dangerous for students walking in the area, and create traffic nightmares.

"My biggest concern is traffic and safety," said Jean Marquis, who lives along Smith Springs Road. "I think they are one in the same. I'm concerned about first responders being able to get out there."

A spokesperson for Metro Nashville Public Schools said all the concerns have been addressed in the school's plan.  He said there will be a lane for buses and cars to help with traffic, and a new turn lane, and sidewalks will be added along the road.

"We commissioned a traffic study," said Joe Bass, Spokesperson for MNPS. "The study found a new school would not have significant impact on the area."

Bass added Antioch is the fastest growing area of the county, and something needs to be done to relieve overcrowding in existing elementary schools. Currently, nearby Lakeview and Thomas Edison Elementary Schools are filled with portable classrooms.

"It will be great to give Antioch a new neighborhood school, and another fixture in their community."

Opponents said they aren't backing down, and are "re-grouping" and deciding what to do next.

"Our voices will be heard," said Ethridge.

The new school would hold up to 800 students. The land still needs to be purchased, and Metro Council Members will have to approve the capital budget that includes money for the new school. 

The plan is for the school to open in 2015.

Email: eluxen@newschannel5.com
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