Slated to open for the 2020-2021 academic year:
East Hamilton community members were able to get a sense of what the future has in store for their children's schools at a presentation Tuesday night.
Hamilton County school leaders including Superintendent Bryan Johnson and Mayor Jim Coppinger presented plans for the new East Hamilton Middle School at a community forum. Also present were representatives from TWH Architects, the firm hired to design the project.
The school, slated to open for the 2020-2021 school year, and its $36 million price tag is one of several projects made possible by $100 million in bond funds issued by the county. Last fall, Johnson presented a $120 million capital plan, which was unanimously approved by the Hamilton County Board of Education in October.
"I was on the job for a few weeks and $100 million came our way," Johnson said. "We understand as a school district, it is our job to provide a safe and orderly environment for our students. We know we have buildings that we have to improve in terms of deferred maintenance and we also understand we are experiencing exponential growth."
The school, which will be located off East Brainerd Road near Apison Elementary, will house approximately 1,200 students in grades 6 through 8. The 165,000-square-foot building will share the 33-acre parcel with four athletic fields, parking lots and two pre-existing creeks, which will allow the school to be set back from the road, according to its designers.
Tahnika Rodriguez, along with husband Armando and their daughter, Chloe, was on a run through the neighborhood when she encountered the community meeting. Rodriguez said she was excited to attend because Chloe, currently a first-grader, may attend the middle school in the future.
"I think it's fantastic," Tahnika Rodriguez said of the meeting. "The more community input you include throughout the entire process, the better."
Among the topics broached by the several dozen people in attendance were the amenities that would be included at the athletic facilities, zoning plans and when they would be announced, and the changes the new school might bring to the traffic pattern in the area.
Johnson said the board would discuss zoning plans during the upcoming 2019-2020 school year, but zone lines were not yet available.
The school district's director of facilities, Justin Witt, also emphasized the amenities available at the four athletic fields and the desire to incorporate such facilities into the initial build.
The school building will be similar to the design for Red Bank Middle School, according to designers. It will include a gymnasium with a multi-purpose stage, computer labs, and a STEM lab. Construction on the parcel will begin in February 2019.
Architects were also selected for six other school capital projects by the Hamilton County Commission this year, including for additions or renovations at Harrison Elementary, Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts, Howard High, Snow Hill Elementary and Tyner Middle and High schools.
Contact staff writer Meghan Mangrum at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757- 6592. Follow her on Twitter @memangrum.