Cleveland High School gym construction to begin in fall

Cleveland High School gym construction to begin in fall

August 7th, 2014 by Paul Leach in Local Regional News

Empty space remains where Cleveland High School's Raider Dome stood for about 50 years. The structure, which contained the school's gymnasium, was closed in December after it scored poorly in a structural analysis. Construction of a new gymnasium is expected to begin in October.

Empty space remains where Cleveland High School's Raider...

Photo by Paul Leach /Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Construction of Cleveland High School's new gymnasium, projected to cost $9.9 million, is expected to begin in October.

The Raider Dome, which housed the school's old gym and a number of wellness classroom spaces, was demolished over the summer to make way for the new gymnasium. The 50-year-old landmark was closed in December after an unfavorable structural analysis.

In a recent meeting, architectural consultant Brian Templeton of Upland Design Group reviewed the status of the project with Cleveland City Schools officials.

"We're looking at about 14 months [for construction]," he said. "That's being optimistic and hoping that we don't have the winter we had this past year."

In a "best-case scenario," the new gym would be completed in December 2015, Templeton said.

The Cleveland Board of Education voted 5-0 to authorize issuing construction documents to six Southeast Tennessee contractors who were approved in a recent prequalification process.

Denark Construction, J & J Contractors, Merit Construction, Rentenbach Constructors, Rouse Construction and Tri-Con have been approved to submit bids on the project.

According to the construction schedule document, a pre-bid meeting is set for Sept. 4 and bids will be opened Sept. 18. The tentative date to begin actual construction is Oct. 6, Templeton said.

The gym's design calls for bench-style seating to accommodate 2,700 people, but the capacity could reach 3,500 if the gym floor and an upper-level walking track are used.

The project includes a number of bid alternatives, including a 3,500-square-foot weight room, acoustical treatment to walls and ceiling and a canopy to connect the gymnasium lobby to the school's science wing.

The $9.9 million targeted construction cost will keep the entire project - which includes $319,500 to demolish the old gymnasium - within the $11 million project cap approved by the school board.

The school board offered to implement the $11 million expense cap in response to a request by the Cleveland City Council to contribute $1 million to the project, said Dr. Martin Ringstaff, director of Cleveland City Schools.

In other business, the board voted 5-0 to approve a new roof for Stuart Elementary School's auditorium.

That project is estimated to cost $40,000, said Hal Taylor, maintenance supervisor for Cleveland City Schools.

The roof replacement was originally scheduled to take place next year, but emergency repairs are needed and money is available now for the project, he said.

Taylor said he hoped to get the roof replaced during fall break or Thanksgiving break.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at