Walls razed to make way for new gym

Walls razed to make way for new gym

November 16th, 2011 by Randall Higgins in News

Brian Weathers with Beaty Fabricating Inc. works Thursday to remove the roof above the Michigan Avenue Elementary School gym. The school was damaged by a tornado on April 27.

Photo by Angela Lewis/Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- The tornado-damaged gymnasium walls at Michigan Avenue Elementary School were razed over the weekend.

It was the latest step in Bradley County Schools' recovery from the April 27 tornadoes.

Casson Conn of Tri-Con Inc. told the county school board last week that the walls would come down while students were away.

The building permit has been issued, and workers are expected to start building foundations and pouring concrete this week, he said.

"It's going to be a brand-new facility, not a Band-Aid," he said.

Johnny McDaniel, county schools director, said the new and bigger facility is the result of patience by the school board and the Michigan Avenue community.

Architect Angie Lyon said the new gymnasium and interior school improvements will meet building codes "or it's stronger than it was before. It will include a new handicapped-accessible stage, too."

Meanwhile, insurance negotiations continue concerning Blue Springs Elementary School. The heavily damaged building was closed after the tornadoes, and the board recently purchased a new school site nearby.

School board Chairman Charlie Rose said recently he wanted to clarify his vote on the new site.

He said he voted to purchase the new site without considering which school district the school would be in. His reasons for approving the site, Rose said, were price, proximity to the old school, paved roads and a favorable geologist's report.