published Monday, September 19th, 2011

Bradley Central High School opens new Fine Arts Center

Lydia Scoggins, left in red, and Kourtney Tagen and cast members from Bradley Central High School’s coming production of “West Side Story” sing their way through “America.”
Lydia Scoggins, left in red, and Kourtney Tagen and cast members from Bradley Central High School’s coming production of “West Side Story” sing their way through “America.”
Photo by Randall Higgins.
  • photo
    Bradley Central High School's show choir and band got a standing ovation Sunday from the audience gathered to take part in the grand opening of the school's new Fine Arts Center.
    Photo by Randall Higgins /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Bradley Central High School opened its new Fine Arts Center to the public Sunday with performances by the school band, show choir and drama departments.

"The building is gorgeous,'' said Bradley County Board of Education Chairman Charlie Rose, "but as a former educator what excites me the most is the life the students bring to the brick and mortar.''

Troy Weathers, county school board member and former chairman, remembered a performance at Bradley Central years ago when the facilities were embarrassing. It was the beginning of the work toward Sunday's open house, he said.

The board began saving $200,000 a year. Then in 2009, voters approved a half-cent local sales tax increase that provided the money needed to push the project forward, Weathers said.

"It takes a lot of people to do good things. But what we did here was great," Weathers said. The center will change lives, he said, whether students continue in the arts or in other careers.

The building architect was Kaatz, Binkley, Jones and Morris of Mt. Juliet. Construction manager was Tricon, Inc. of Cleveland.

The center includes a 600-seat auditorium with sound and light systems, Principal Todd Shoemaker said after the opening ceremony. Backstage are dressing rooms with state of the art mirrors and lighting, he said. The building also features a band room and a choir room.

With the new center, four classrooms in the school's gymnasium were freed for other uses, including JROTC and wellness classes, Shoemaker said.

"There are some other things we would like to do for the children of Bradley County," Director of Schools Johnny McDaniel told the audience. "It is going to take the commitment of the community to support some of those efforts."

Those projects include replacing Blue Springs Elementary after the April 27 tornado, a new academic building at Lake Forest Middle School and expanding Walker Valley High School.

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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