published Saturday, November 20th, 2010

State shutters school's portables

by Kelli Gauthier
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    Staff Photo by Jake Daniels/Chattanooga Times Free Press Pictured are the facilities at the Ivy Academy in Soddy-Daisy.

Already crunched for space, Ivy Academy officials were forced to close two of their new portable buildings after a state fire marshal's inspection revealed they had not been approved to house students.

At the request of Soddy-Daisy fire officials, Deputy State Fire Marshal Eugenia Herndon inspected the buildings last week. They had no manufacturer's labels, "throwing into question whether they can be used for educational purposes," Christopher Garrett, spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, said Friday.

Steve Grant, Soddy-Daisy's fire marshal and building inspector, said his department requires state approval before allowing occupation, so the local officials won't let the school provide electricity to the buildings.

"We cannot OK them until the state of Tennessee does," he said.

Grant said that, instead of working to get the modular buildings approved, he'd heard that Ivy officials planned either to buy more portables like the larger ones the school started out with two years ago or look into finding more permanent facilities.

Messages left for Ivy Operations Director Ed Davis and board President Chris Daly were not returned Friday.

Ivy is an environmentally themed public charter high school serving grades nine and 10.

Garrett said that, until the school finds proper identification for the two buildings or somehow shows that they comply with regulations, no students will be allowed inside.

Contact staff writer Kelli Gauthier at or 423-757-6249. Follow her on Twitter at

about Kelli Gauthier...

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, ...

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