Take One More Look At Saving The Old Red Bank School

Saturday, February 23, 2013 - by John Shearer
A few days ago I wrote a story for chattanoogan.com about getting to tour the soon-to-be-closed Red Bank Middle School building on Dayton Boulevard. I also included with it a slide show of the inside and outside of the structure.



For some reason, the story seemed to result in a higher-than-normal number of emails, and I also realized after checking YouTube that far more people than is typical viewed the accompanying slide show, even though it is several minutes long.




As a result, I realized that the school and school building must have much meaning to a lot of people, particularly those who used the structure when it was Red Bank High School.



I also seemed to sense a deep sadness from a number of alumni over the school complex’s planned razing after it is vacated at the end of the school year. And that has prompted me to make a suggestion, even though I usually try to remain a non-partisan journalist.



Although I know the Red Bank Commission has already voted to tear down the property, and maybe not many people have spoken out against the move so far, I would still encourage the city fathers to look at preserving the entire facility.



The classroom structure could be converted into condominiums, not rental units, and the older gym and auditorium – both of which are unique architectural and historical gems – could be preserved for community and recreational use along with the other parts of the physical plant.



As someone who also enjoys reading about various preservation projects around the country, I have heard of countless stories of similarly beloved old school buildings being remodeled into condominium units. And in the process, they usually become positive developments for their neighborhoods.



I feel certain that the Red Bank school could be preserved in a way that also results in long-term, positive economic investment for the Red Bank community as well, and that an improvement in the overall quality of life could result. And I feel strongly that some Red Bank alumni might be interested in living there.



Another shopping center or well-known retail facility at the site might be nice, but the business might want to vacate the property in a few years, as often happens.



Unless the city is already legally bound to tear down the site or is already in serious negotiations with a business, I would encourage the community to form a task force of commissioners, community advocates, Red Bank school alumni and others to take a few weeks to try to solicit proposals and examine more thoroughly what to do with the facility.



Although I still contribute stories regularly to chattanoogan.com, I actually live in Knoxville now and would be unable to become involved in such a process. However, I would certainly be following any developments with much interest from afar, as would the several out-of-town alumni I heard from via email after my story appeared.



John Shearer

Jcshearer2@comcast.net

The Line Between Discipline And Abuse

I’m no expert, I didn’t stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night and I am most certainly not a bleeding heart. But, like others, I do know a thing or two about “switchings” and “whippings.” Up until my high school years my mother, sister and I lived with my grandparents in the East Lake community. My grandmother was charged with the raising while my granddad and mom both worked ... (click for more)

Funding For The ISIS Conflict - And Response

Since it seems inevitable that the United States  will once again beinvolved in a Middle East conflict that will never have any resolution, may I present an idea about the funding for this engagement  that has not been bantered?     Despite the fact that no Middle Eastern country will commit troops to fight ISIS, considering that ISIS is much ... (click for more)

EPB Officials Huddle With Attorneys Over City Street Lighting Issue

EPB board members huddled with attorneys on the issue of billing for city street lights on Friday morning. EPB Chairman Joe Ferguson asked for the private session with attorneys Rick Hitchcock and Tom Greenholtz of Chambliss Bahner. Don Lepard, owner of Global Green Lighting, earlier filed a $10 million "whistle blower" lawsuit, claiming overbilling by EPB on street lighting. ... (click for more)

Woman Shot And Killed In Catoosa County Residence

A woman is dead after a shooting in Catoosa County. According to Sheriff Gary Sisk, around noon on Friday, sheriff’s deputies and investigators responded to 227 Smoketree Circle, Ringgold, Catoosa County, in reference to a subject being shot.   Upon arrival, officers located two females and one male at the residence. One of the women was observed lying at ... (click for more)

Owls Force Eight Turnovers, Rout Hurricanes, 41-7

(Story will be updated) Turnovers turn into blowouts. In a county rival that drew what East Hamilton announced as a record crowd, Ooltewah forced an amazing eight turnovers – six in the first half – and the Owls trounced the Hurricanes, 41-7, in a District 5-AAA high school football game played on a pleasant Friday night. There was nothing pleasant about East Hamilton’s ... (click for more)

Lee Davis A Successful Runner Among Other Things

Lee Davis grew up in Philadelphia, went to college at Elizabethton College in Central Pennsylvania and graduated from law school at Boston University. He also became a pretty good runner during that time. Davis is a high-profile attorney in Chattanooga who does something physical every day.   He doesn’t train like he once did and he doesn’t even like to talk about ... (click for more)