published Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

Cleveland High School's Raider Dome demolition to proceed

Cleveland High School's Raider Dome, which houses the school's gymnasium, has been closed because of structural problems.
Cleveland High School's Raider Dome, which houses the school's gymnasium, has been closed because of structural problems.
Photo by Paul Leach.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Raider Dome, Cleveland High School's 50-year-old landmark, is scheduled to come down over the summer.

The facility, which houses the high school's gymnasium, wellness education classroom spaces and water and gas assets, was closed in December because of an unfavorable structural analysis.

On Monday, the Cleveland City School Board voted 7-0 to award a $319,500 contract to J&J Contractors of Chattanooga to begin demolition work this month.

Logan Excavating, also of Chattanooga, will be the demolition subcontractor, said architect consultant Brian Templeton of Upland Design.

"They've provided a list of projects of comparable size and scope, so I feel comfortable in saying that they have the experience to do this," said Templeton.

Mechanical and electrical subcontractors are from Cleveland, he said.

Although actual knockdown work will not begin until after students start their summer break, plenty of work will be required beforehand, Templeton said previously.

The high school's key infrastructural connections to gas and water both run through the lower levels of Raider Dome and must be relocated before the structure comes down.

That requirement "is the first piece of the puzzle" in which major demolition activities need to be wrapped up by the time students return Aug. 5, said Templeton.

Once demolition is completed, the next phase -- construction of a new gymnasium -- can begin.

The entire project was capped at $11 million by the Cleveland City School Board in April as a response by the Cleveland City Council to pitch in $1 million toward the replacement of the current gymnasium.

"We don't have the funding on the front end, but we could assist on the back end of the costs," said Dr. Martin Ringstaff, director of Cleveland City Schools, in a recent meeting with the City Council.

The $11 million might require the reduction of a bleacher capacity from 2,700 seats to 2,400 seats and necessitate the loss of a weight room, said Templeton.

In related business, the school board voted 7-0 to place Hal Taylor, the supervisor of maintenance and transportation for the city school system, in the role of Cleveland High School gym project manager.

"He will be my eyes and ears in the field," said Ringstaff.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

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