Hamilton County Schools and county officials are beginning the search for an architect on a new Ooltewah Elementary School.
Superintendent Rick Smith, who announced plans to move forward with the project to county commissioners on Thursday morning, said the school could be open as early as fall 2013.
"The beginning of the year is obviously the best," Smith said.
After the commission meeting, he met with County Mayor Jim Coppinger and his staff to discuss the next steps and a possible timeline for the project. The county is drafting a request for proposals, and those should be available for review in four to six weeks.
Last month, commissioners approved the purchase of more 30 acres of land off Ooltewah-Georgetown Road for $875,000 with plans to build the new school there.
The new building will help relieve overcrowding at elementary schools on the county's east side, Smith has said.
Revenues from the sale of the current Ooltewah Elementary School site will be held by the county in escrow for use on future school projects.