Knoxville, Tenn. (Aug. 18, 2011) — Today, the Devon Group, the company that won the bid to build a new Carter Elementary School, sent a letter to Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett indicating that they were pulling out of the project.
“This is unfortunate news for the children, parents and teachers in the Carter community who have been waiting so long for a new school,” Mayor Burchett said. “Fortunately, the Devon Group was gracious enough to offer to give Knox County all of their project materials, in the hopes that the project can move forward without them.”
“The reasons have nothing to do with you and nothing to do with the plans for the school,” the letter, received this afternoon, states. “In our view, you and your staff have clearly articulated the benefits of the project, employed a fair and substantive selection process, and engaged in good faith and effective negotiations. We appreciate that deeply.”
“Educating our children remains our top priority, and I appreciate the Board of Education, Dr. McIntyre, many on the Knox County Commission and the Industrial Development Board for their support.” Mayor Burchett said. “This is not the first roadblock the Carter community has faced, and I now need to sit down with School Board Chair Indya Kincannon and Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre to discuss our next steps for Carter.”
In December 2010, Mayor Burchett asked school board members for the opportunity to explore options for building a new Carter Elementary School. The process progressed with a vote of support from the board, and a Request for Proposals (RFP) was developed that simply sought unique ideas and funding strategies that could make the new school a reality. Earlier this month, after an exhaustive RFP evaluation process, the Board of Education voted to move forward with the construction agreement. The Knox County Commission was set to vote on the agreement next Monday, and construction could have begun as early as September or October.