2020 marks the kickoff of several special projects that the Franklin Special School District is excited to see come to life. The FSSD Board of Education has been planning for several years to make renovations to Liberty Elementary School. The thirty-four-year-old school will receive improvements that will not only improve energy efficiency with a new HVAC system, but will also include appropriate updates to wiring and building aesthetics. Liberty Elementary serves over 500 students in pre-kindergarten through 4th grade. The expected date of completion has not yet been established, but significant progress is expected over the summer of 2020.
Another project that the FSSD is excited to get underway in 2020 will be the addition of a second gym to the Poplar Grove campus. Currently one gym is shared by Poplar Grove Elementary and Poplar Grove Middle, which causes significant scheduling conflicts. The elementary physical education departments use a multi-purpose room for its classes, special events, programs and assemblies. Also, the current gym is heavily used by middle school athletic teams and drama practices, which makes finding open gym time very difficult for Poplar Grove Elementary. The new gym will include 470 bleacher seats in a mezzanine setting overlooking the gym floor, high windows to provide natural light, and new locker rooms for both home and away teams. While the new gym will primarily serve the elementary school, the locker rooms will connect with the current gym, so that the middle school athletic teams will be able to use them. “I am thrilled to see this project come to fruition,” said Poplar Grove Elementary principal Dr. Alisha Erickson. “It has been an identified need for Poplar Grove since we opened in 2000. This will offer much needed space for our physical education teachers to design lessons that maximize participation while keeping children a safe distance from one another during activities.”
Concurrent with the gymnasium project, construction of the FSSD Performing Arts Center (PAC) will also begin in 2020. This project has long been on the wish list of Director of Schools Dr. David Snowden, who envisioned a large, high quality performing arts center that all FSSD schools could use for performances. “Our Franklin community and the FSSD community are strong supporters of the arts and this new Performing Arts Center will offer a state-of-the-art facility for our students to showcase their talents,” Snowden said, adding that he expects the venue to be used for community performances as well. “I can’t say enough about the strong support of the Board of Education for all the construction projects. They know how much these projects will enhance the educational environment for students.” The new PAC will be built at the north end of the Poplar Grove Middle School and will include a 480-seat auditorium with a multipurpose stage, performance support spaces, including a pre-performance space, changing rooms, and a prop shop. In addition, the PAC will be home to an FSSD Legacy Gallery where the district’s long history will be celebrated.
Another large-scale project on the horizon for 2020, includes the beginning of the construction partnership between the FSSD and the City of Franklin for a ballfield complex with two playing fields behind Freedom Middle School. This city/school partnership includes constructing two regulation size fields (baseball and softbal), for school and tournament play, creating a concessions area and restrooms, adding lighting for evening practice or play, and creating safe walkways to parking. Nashville-based Lose Design has created the design plan. They have in their design portfolio the Riverfront Landing area across from Nissan Stadium and the Middle Tennessee State University women's softball complex. The ballfield project is part of a multi-phase plan that would bring recreation and athletic field upgrades to the Freedom Middle/Poplar Grove campus, as well as Freedom Intermediate School and Johnson Elementary.
The construction cost for the baseball/softball complex will be split between the two entities. FSSD schools will have priority use of the complex. The project is expected to be under construction sometime in 2020.
To learn more about these projects and the FSSD in general, go to fssd.org.