Expansion on track for Walker Valley High School

Expansion on track for Walker Valley High School

April 18th, 2013 by Paul Leach in Local Regional News

Walker Valley High School is located in Charleston, Tenn.

Walker Valley High School is located in Charleston,...

Photo by Jenna Walker /Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Bradley County Schools officials soon will review bids for adding a storm-resistant eight-classroom pod to Walker Valley High School.

Sealed bids for the project will be received until they are opened April 24 at the county schools' administrative office, a notice published on the school system's website states.

The Walker Valley classroom pod project may include two alternative additions, said consulting designer Angie Lyon of Kaatz, Binkley, Jones and Morris Architects Inc. of Knoxville.

In addition to bidding on the two-story classroom pod, contractors may make bids on expanding the cafeteria seating area and remodeling the school's vestibule to enhance security.

The eight-classroom pod has been approved for a $1 million hazard mitigation grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but may require up to $344,000 in local funding, according to prior cost assessments.

"The FEMA grant specifications are not flexible standards," said Lyon in a recent presentation before the Bradley County Board of Education. "It requires structural reinforcement and does not allow air conditioning units on the roof."

School officials have cited overcrowding at Walker Valley as the reason for building the pod. The school now enrolls 1,500 students, but it was built for only 1,200.

Officials estimated the pod would be operational after the 2013 fall break.

Several more renovations are in the works for Bradley County Schools.

The school board recently approved a $72,000 project to improve the parking lots at Ocoee Middle School. Associated projects, including sidewalks, curbing and tree removal, likely will increase the cost to about $95,000, said Rick Smith, business manager for the school system.

The main project entails paving and striping road and parking lot surfaces, creating stacking lanes and better defining parking spaces to improve traffic flow around the school, Ocoee Middle School Principal Ron Spangler said.

Several schools are scheduled for roofing work and/or replacement of their air conditioning systems, said Lyon, including Ocoee Middle School and Michigan Avenue, Hopewell and Taylor elementary schools.

All schools in they system are undergoing security assessments for possible structural changes, Lyon said.

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