Walker County Schools is putting into place new school zoning regulations for the county starting in the fall of 2013.
"Saddle Ridge School opening up is a brand new school, so we added a zone," said Walker County Schools Director of Facilities and Operations Chris Jones. "The new zoning dealt with overcrowding at Cherokee Ridge Elementary School to get students out of portables and back into the main building."
Initially, school officials thought the zoning would affect only a few schools, he said, but it ended up being district- wide. Cherokee Ridge, Rock Spring and Gilbert Elementary schools and LaFayette Middle School will all be affected.
"One big thing for Gilbert is we took the Cove students and brought them into Gilbert and out of Chattanooga Valley," said Jones. "LaFayette Middle School will also have students from the Cove area. LaFayette Middle and Saddle Ridge will feed into LaFayette High School. Chattanooga Valley Middle School and Rossville Middle School will feed into Ridgeland High School."
The new Saddle Ridge School being constructed in Rock Spring is scheduled to open in the fall of 2013 and will house grades K-8. The master plan also for calls for the building of Saddle Ridge High School sometime in the future.
"We will upload the zoning map to show changes made online [at www.walkerschools.org]," said Jones. "The way it's rezoned it should provide shorter bus routes and it will make sense as far as miles traveled and gas saved."
Approximately 9,000 students attend Walker County Schools, according to him. Jones said the school system has been aggressive in providing great facilities for the last 10 years and most of the schools are in good shape.
"Ninety percent of the block work is complete at Saddle Ridge School," he added. "We will work on bricks, roofing and windows. The project started in October of 2011 and the planning for construction began four years ago. We don't want to max out Saddle Ridge when we open it, but 400 to 500 students will attend the school in grades K-8."
Saddle Ridge is centrally located, and once the high school portion is built, the county will have a high school in the middle of the county to balance out the high schools already on the north and south ends of the county, he said.