New Ooltewah Elementary School gains approval

New Ooltewah Elementary School gains approval

June 15th, 2012 by Ansley Haman in News

Rick Smith

Rick Smith

A new Ooltewah Elementary School received final approval Thursday, but not before Hamilton County commissioners questioned school officials about any possible surprises in the deal.

Hickory Construction from Alcoa, Tenn., can begin the school, located on Ooltewah-Georgetown Road, after commissioners unanimously approved the company's $21.45 million bid.

The Board of Education approved the selection earlier this week.

If Hickory finishes the school before Hamilton County Schools' 2013 start date in August, it is eligible for a $545,000 bonus.

Before the vote, Commissioner Joe Graham asked Assistant School Superintendent Gary Waters and Superintendent Rick Smith if they'd fully presented the agreement.

"Is there anything we're missing here that we're going to find out in the newspaper or the news?" Graham asked.

"No sir," Smith said from the rear of the room.

Some commissioners are still angry that they only learned about a proposed three-way land swap that involved another elementary school site, the city of Chattanooga and the Chattanooga Housing Authority from a member of Chattanooga City Council and the Times Free Press.

The new Ooltewah Elementary School will house about 1,100 students, with nine classrooms in kindergarten through third grade and eight in both fourth and fifth grades, Waters said.

After a question from Commissioner Fred Skillern, Waters calculated that the cost per square foot will be about $34 more than the most recently completed elementary school in East Ridge.