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Franklin County’s two new middle schools are expected to be completed under budget, and the Finance Committee has approved to use some of the money to upgrade the track at Franklin County High School and provide an air-conditioning system for Huntland’s auxiliary gym.

The committee considered the issue at its Sept. 7 meeting, with David Eldridge voting against the appropriation that would include between $400,000 and $500,000 for the track and about $200,000 for the air-conditioning project.

A total of $48 million was budgeted for the two middle schools, and Finance Director Andrea Smith said about $2.1 in uncommitted funds is available since the two projects are expected to be completed for about $46 million.

Eldridge questioned whether the money could be used to pay back part of the bond issue and said it should be earmarked for that purpose.

The County Commission will consider the Finance Committee’s recommendation in its 7 p.m. meeting on Monday at the Franklin County Annex Building.

Director of Schools Stanley Bean said that when the current Franklin County High School was built, the administration at the time decided to go with an asphalt track surface which was less expensive than a synthetic rubber surface.

However, it was later deemed to not meet Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association standards because asphalt is a more rigid material.

Synthetic tracks are significantly more forgiving on muscles and joints.

Bean said that because of the asphalt surface, FCHS has been prohibited from hosting competitive track meets.