BY THE NUMBERS
• $29.6 million: Approximate cost
• 160,000: Square footage
• 20,000: Truckloads of dirt moved so far
• 200,000: Cubic yards of earth moved
• $2 million: Estimated 10-year savings from geothermal heating and air system
• 800: Number of students the building will house
• 40: Number of faculty the building will house
Sources: Hamilton County Department of Education and TWH Architects
After years of waiting, construction on the new Red Bank Middle School is well on its way, school officials said Thursday morning.
Though dirt has been turned for a few months now, local leaders held a groundbreaking ceremony just up the hill from the school's massive construction site.
The 160,000-square-foot middle school is being built behind Red Bank High School on Morrison Springs Road to replace the current middle school on Dayton Boulevard. Construction should be completed by August 2013, officials say.
Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Rick Smith, flanked by state, county and local government officials, thanked community members for their patience and support during the planning process.
"It required partnership, compromise, sacrifice, commitment and leadership," he said.
Red Bank Mayor Monty Millard said the $29 million school represents the "single largest investment ever made in our city."
Energy saving features of the building will save the school system about $200,000 on utility costs per year, said Vance Travis, owner of TWH Architects, the firm designing the school. He said planning has kept in mind Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design principles, a green building certification system.
Travis predicted the school would last at least 75 years upon completion.
"It will serve as a sustainable and green building," Travis said.
On Thursday, the architecture firm presented school leaders with a $3,000 check to help furnish the new school.
Gary Waters, assistant superintendent of auxiliary services for Hamilton County Schools, said crews have started pouring concrete footings for the school. In about 60 days, the footprint of the building should be well established, he said.
The construction has current middle school teachers and students excited over the new building's debut, Principal John Pierce told the crowd.
"I anticipate that, when we get that door open, there are going to be a lot of people waiting to chase them in there," he said.
Kevin rejoined the Times Free Press in August 2011 as the Southeast Tennessee K-12 education reporter. He worked as an intern in 2009, covering the communities of Signal Mountain, Red Bank, Collegedale and Lookout Mountain, Tenn. A native Kansan, Kevin graduated with bachelor's degrees in journalism and sociology from the University of Kansas. After graduating, he worked as an education reporter in Hutchinson, Kan., for a year before coming back to Chattanooga. Honors include a ...