The new school in East Hamilton County is under budget and ahead-of-schedule, principal Pam Dantzler said Monday night.
During a community meeting at Westview Elementary for potential parents and students, Ms. Dantzler said school administrators likely would occupy the building by mid-June.
“And we’re coming in a little under budget, so we’re having a bit more funds than we anticipated, so that’s wonderful news,” she told about 60 parents and students.
From wireless Internet throughout the building, to a 300-seat theater and a state-of-the art piano lab, Ms. Dantzler said the school would be unlike any other in Hamilton County.
Unlike most high schools in the district, the East Hamilton facility will have no career academies. Instead, it will offer a “general, but very strong, liberal arts curriculum,” Ms. Dantzler said.
The school will offer many advanced placement and honors courses, including Web design and multimedia production, she said.
Although Ms. Dantzler said her strength is with curriculum, she planned to put a heavy emphasis on athletics by hiring the best head football coach she could find.
“I would be a fool not to know that one of the key positions I hire is my head football coach,” she said.
There will be no senior class when the school opens in August, but Ms. Dantzler said she would have as many sports teams as the enrollment would support.
Paula Coleman said her daughter, Taryn, a seventh-grader at Chattanooga High School Center for the Creative Arts, was interested in playing basketball at the new school.
“They don’t have a basketball team at her current school, so she has to play at the various recreation centers,” she said.
“I’m not really into arts,” Taryn added.
To allow for potential future growth, a committee of parents and school officials voted to call the school simply East Hamilton School and drop the “middle-high” designation.
That decision will go before the Hamilton County Board of Education at its October meeting.
Currently, Ms. Dantzler anticipates opening her school — soon to be the largest in the county at 275,000 square feet — with about 1,000 students.
Kelli Gauthier covers K-12 education in Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She started at the paper as an intern in 2006, crisscrossing the region writing feature stories from Pikeville, Tenn., to Lafayette, Ga. She also covered crime and courts before taking over the education beat in 2007. A native of Frederick, Md., Kelli came south to attend Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in print journalism. Before newspapers, ...