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

Virtue

It's becoming more and more difficult to find a "Made in U.S.A." pocket knife these days. This is America, the United States of America, the greatest nation to ever grace the face of Planet Terra, why is it so difficult to find products whose manufacture we not only pioneered, but held world dominance for generations? Ace Hardware in Red Bank keeps a small inventory and can special ... (click for more)

Judging The Sheriff Candidates

We have a decision to make on who will lead the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office - current Sheriff Jim Hammond or opponent Chris Harvey?  As you read the opinions there are some positives listed for each of the candidates.  No one is saying that either gentleman is a bad person.  You need to weigh what you want in an elected official that is in charge ... (click for more)

Man Shot On Cannon Avenue Early Saturday Morning

A man was shot early Saturday morning on Cannon Avenue. At approximately 5:30 a.m., Chattanooga Police responded to 2300 Cannon Ave. for shots fired.  Shortly after receiving the call, officers learned that a victim arrived at a local hospital.  The victim suffered a gunshot wound to the right leg and is undergoing treatment. The injury is not considered to be life-threatening.  ... (click for more)

Child Playing With Cigarette Lighter Starts $25,000 Mobile Home Fire

A child playing with a cigarette lighter started a mobile home fire on Saturday morning. At 9 a.m., the Chattanooga Fire Department responded to a mobile home fire at 6561 Cassie Lane. It took four fire companies about 10 minutes to get the fire under control. The fire was contained to one bedroom. No injuries were reported. Damage to the home is around $25,000. (click for more)

Injury Ends Playing Career Of Bradley Central's Chelsie Summars

Bradley Central girls basketball star Chelsie Summars, who underwent two serious operations on her right knee that wiped out her sophomore season, has suffered a third injury that will end her playing career, Bearettes coach Jason Reuter said via text. Summars, who helped the Bearettes win district, region and sectional titles en route to the 2013-14 Class AAA state tournament, ... (click for more)

Lenoir, Kelly Sisters Of Milligan College Earn All-AAC Tennis Honors

Three former Arts & Sciences tennis players have been named to the 2014 Appalachian Athletic Conference All-Conference squad. Jackson Lenoir, Ahmee Kelly and Kayla Kelly, who attend Milligan College, were selected to the men’s and women’s all-conference teams. Lenoir, now a sophomore, helped Milligan win the 2013 league championship and reach the 2014 semifinals. The ... (click for more)