3 sites eyed for school in Cleveland, Tenn.

3 sites eyed for school in Cleveland, Tenn.

May 10th, 2011 by Randall Higgins in News

Cleveland City Councilman Richard Banks

Cleveland City Councilman Richard Banks

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - One of three locations could become the next site for a Cleveland elementary school.

The sites include private property on Georgetown Road and on North Lee Highway. Some Cleveland City Council members are promoting Hardwick Field, the city's current airport.

Garry Rodgers of the Rodgers Group asked the school board Monday for a $10,000, 90-day option on property owned by the Stuart family on North Lee Highway. The site is across U.S. Highway 11 from a Dollar General Store and Tennessee Christian Academy.

According to Rodgers, the school would be part of a community development for the Stuart farm's 800 acres.

"It will be a city within a city," Rodgers said of the planned development.

The school board also has looked at private property on Georgetown Road near the intersection with Paul Huff Parkway.

Councilman George Poe repeated his request Monday that the school board look at property the city already owns, the 105 acres of the current airport that will be vacated in 2012 for a new airport.

Lynn DeVault, chairwoman of the Cleveland Municipal Airport Authority, reminded the council Monday that the authority owns Hardwick Field and is required to sell at fair market value or more. The proceeds are required by the Federal Aviation Administration to go toward the new airport's cost, she said.

The airport authority could sell part of the site to the school board, DeVault said.

But an appraisal of the airport site has not been done, she said.

When a site is chosen, Councilman Richard Banks said, "We just want our name in the hat."

School board member Steve Morgan said his concern is "we have two really good pieces of property, and I think we are being sidetracked a little bit" by the airport location.

Board member Murl Dirksen told Rodgers, "I don't think we are in a position to enter an option now."

Some council members questioned the need to build a new school soon.

Councilman Bill Estes said the Public Works Department, police and others have been waiting in line for funding, too.

Contact Randall Higgins at rhiggins@timesfreepress.com or 423-314-1029.