DAYTON, Tenn. — Rhea County school officials are planning a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new county high school Aug. 2, with an open house the following two days, school board members were told Thursday.
Director of Schools Jerry Levengood said county officials would have a ceremony marking the opening of the school before throwing open the doors for the public.
On the following Monday, classes are scheduled to begin in both the new high school and the new junior high school — located in the refurbished building now occupied by the county’s high school — with one grade reporting each day that week.
“Monday, Aug. 12 will be the first day for all students in both buildings. We expect to have right at 2,400 students in the two schools,” he said.
Board members were assured construction is on schedule, with the new high school expected to be ready to allow teachers to begin moving in by late June or early July.
In a related matter, board members approved spending about $6,000 to replace facilities of the Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Program that were displaced by construction of the new high school.
In other matters, board member Harold “Bimbo” McCawley announced that Mark Pemberton has been named head football coach at the high school.
“We’re beginning a new era,” McCawley said. “We have a new track and [football] field, which is the finest in the state. I think this guy is going to take us back to the glory days of the ’80s, when Coach [Bill] Horton was here.”
The 52-year-old Pemberton served on the Rhea County football staff in the 1999 and 2000 seasons as offensive coordinator. He brings a 160-52 record as a head coach.
Board member John Mincy said Pemberton is a nephew of the late Jim Pemberton, the first principal of the high school when it opened in 1974.