published Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Chattanooga City Council approves razing old Hixson Middle School


by Cliff Hightower
The old Hixson Middle School building.
The old Hixson Middle School building.
Photo by Angela Lewis /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

BY THE NUMBERS

133,000: Square footage of Hixson Middle School

1938: Year the school was built

8: Number of acres the school sits on

Source: City of Chattanooga

The Chattanooga City Council has approved demolition of most of the old Hixson Middle School to make room for a community recreation center.

The vote was 8-1 at the council's Tuesday meeting, with Councilwoman Deborah Scott voting no.

The council gave permission for the city Parks and Recreation Department to enter into an agreement with Franklin & Associates to conduct demolition for $79,100.

Council Chairwoman Pam Ladd, who represents the area, said after the meeting the recreation center is needed within the community.

"We don't have a community meeting place," she said.

The Hamilton County Department of Education turned over the land last year to the city with plans already in place for a community recreation center and park on the property.

The 133,000-square-foot school was built in 1938 and sits on about eight acres. It was shuttered in March 2009 after students were moved to a brand-new school.

Larry Zehnder, parks and recreation director, said demolition should be finished by the winter.

"This will get the project started," he said.

The Parks and Recreation Department held a series of public meetings last year to get community input. Zehnder said the city decided it would save the school's gym, auditorium and a wing with about seven to 10 classrooms.

In other news, the council also unanimously approved entering into a contract with ISS Inc. to construct a rugby/soccer field at Montague Park.

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