Budget: $750,000 for new Strang?

As part of a five-year capital improvement presented by Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, $750,000 would be set aside for the relocation and replacement of Frank R. Strang Senior Center.

This was part of Burchett’s proposed 2019 fiscal year operating budget — just over $819 million with no tax increase — announced during a public meeting attended by two Farragut High School teachers, Town of Farragut leaders and other local politicians and citizens Wednesday, May 9, in Farragut Public Library.

The Center, located along Lovell Heights Road, has been serving Farragut and West Knox County for 20 years — but a need to either expand the facility or relocate has been long-discussed.

“(The Center) has been super successful,” said Burchett, who noted its success also has made it “overcrowded.”

“We had hoped to get some parking spaces down the road (adjacent to the current location),” he added, but said that option did not pan out.

Burchett said the county has been working with Town of Farragut officials on the “probability” of relocating the Senior Center within Town limits.

“You Commissioners and the Town of Farragut have done great work” on bringing the project to fruition, Burchett said, adding it has been “a collaborative effort” and negotiations currently are ongoing.

Knox County Commissioner John Schoonmaker (R-Fifth District including Farragut), who has long been a proponent for a new center, confirmed late last week an announcement regarding the future of the center should happen “within the next 60 to 90 days.”

Jane Skinner and Holly Kelly, FHS science teachers, attended the meeting, as did Farragut Vice Mayor Ron Pinchok, Town Aldermen Louise Povlin and Ron Williams, state Rep. Jason Zachary (R-District 14 including Farragut) and several members of Burchett’s staff.

Skinner and Kelly discussed budget allocations as they related to the educational system.

Both expressed concern and frustration with issues beyond the budget itself, including testing mandates and a need for updated classroom textbooks.

“(Some) textbooks (at FHS) are from 2002, and things have certainly changed (since that time),” Skinner said.