published Sunday, July 29th, 2012

Whirlwind redo winds down: Volunteers shine up Red Bank High School with elbow grease

Katie Beckett, 17, paints around the upper edges of a classroom while Stephanie Carson, 18, steadies her ladder from below, and Michelle Bird, 18, paints underneath an American flag Wednesday. Carson and Bird are both recent graduates, while Beckett will be a senior in the fall.
Katie Beckett, 17, paints around the upper edges of a classroom while Stephanie Carson, 18, steadies her ladder from below, and Michelle Bird, 18, paints underneath an American flag Wednesday. Carson and Bird are both recent graduates, while Beckett will be a senior in the fall.
Photo by Jake Daniels.

IF YOU GO

What: Red Bank High School open house

When: 2-4 p.m. Aug. 5

Where: 640 Morrison Springs Road, Red Bank

After investing countless man-hours and $50,000 into a weeklong cosmetic renovation, organizers are about ready to hand Red Bank High School back to its faculty and students.

Hundreds of volunteers worked in about 45 classrooms in the decades-old school over the past week, leaving behind fresh paint, new whiteboards and clean desks.

"The old girl needed a face-lift. And she got one. And she deserved one," said Linda Boran, a Red Bank teacher of more than two decades.

The renovation project was organized by parents and community members and relied on the help of area churches and businesses, alumni, parents, teachers and students.

"There's always been a lot of school pride here," Boran said. "But for me, it's been great to see so many parents, community leaders, alumni and kids converge on this place in a week. It's just been a blessing for me."

Boran said many current students and recent graduates were on hand throughout the week. One painted a mural in the senior lounge, another continues to inventory all the school's trophy cases and the student council cleaned and painted the faculty lounge.

"Part of their sweat is in this," Boran said. "A lot of the kids are buying into it and are going to support the school."

Project manager Barri Harper, who also worked on two similar renovations at Normal Park Museum Magnet School, said volunteers would have all the major paint work wrapped up Saturday, with teachers doing some of their own touch-ups. Volunteers will continue to clean out supplies and put the finishing touches on classrooms as they work up to a community open house on Aug. 5.

Harper said the donations of cash, food, labor and supplies from local groups, businesses and churches have been a huge help to the massive project.

"We've had a good turnout, and a lot of people helped out. It's really been a group effort," he said.

The classroom renovations were just the first of several planned improvement efforts for the Red Bank campus. Workers will hang new solar shades once they arrive from the manufacturer in the fall.

Harper said that as fundraising continues, volunteers hope to repair about 1,000 of the school's lockers and to landscape and rehabilitate a metal overhang outside. Some of the outdoor work is on hold until major construction begins to wind down at the new Red Bank Middle School, being built just behind the high school.

Marian Willett, whose three children graduated from Red Bank in the 1970s, spent several days working in classrooms as part of a group from Red Bank United Methodist Church. She said children are the future and they deserve a nice learning environment.

"I'm just thrilled for the children to come back and see what's been done," she said.

about Kevin Hardy...

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 ...

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