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

Policeman: Modern Day "Boogie Man"

As a child I was under the impression that a ghastly, grotesque creature had taken up residence in my bedroom closet, the proverbial “Boogie Man” I suppose.  This is not an uncommon thing among children and most likely to some fault of my own as I subjected myself to some pretty iconic 1980’s horror flicks. There were other kids in the neighborhood that not only claimed to ... (click for more)

Why Ferguson Matters In Chattanooga

The recent verdict in Ferguson has thrown race relations in the spotlight again. It is far too easy to get caught up in the debate as to who was right. But the plain fact is that the community lost, the police force lost and the nation lost. So why does Ferguson matter in Chattanooga? Because a police force mainly composed of whites got into a conflict with a community mainly ... (click for more)

1 Dies, 1 Critically Injured In North Chattanooga House Fire

For the second time in three days, a house fire has resulted in tragedy with a 35-year-old woman dying and a man critically injured in North Chattanooga. At 10:13 a.m. on Wednesday, Chattanooga firefighters were dispatched to a reported house fire with entrapment at 220 Houser St. The first firefighters on the scene saw flames shooting out windows and part of the roof. Having ... (click for more)

Appeal Dropped In $25 Million Lawsuit Filed Against Hennen's Restaurant By Lisa Barnes

An appeal has been dropped of a Circuit Court jury verdict that found Hennen's Restaurant not at fault in a $25 million lawsuit brought by Lisa Barnes. Circuit Court officials said the appeal was "voluntarily" dropped. It had been set to be reviewed by the Tennessee Court of Appeals. The verdict in the courtroom of Judge Neil Thomas in early February came at the end of ... (click for more)

Alcoa, A Prep Football Gold Standard, Up Next For Irish

Notre Dame almost had a crack at powerful Alcoa in the 2013 TSSAA football playoff semifinal round. But, in the quarterfinals, Alcoa beat Christian Academy of Knoxville, 42-14, but the Fighting Irish dropped a 19-10 decision to Upperman, which was crushed, 75-18, a week later by the Tornadoes. Alcoa clipped Christ Presbyterian Academy, 25-7, in the state championship game. ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Women Shock No.4 Tennessee, 67-63

Before the season started some people across the country called Chattanooga women’s basketball coach Jim Foster crazy for scheduling three top 10 teams – Notre Dame (national runner-up) Stanford and Tennessee - before Christmas. After Wednesday night’s UTC shocking 67-63 home win against No.4 Tennessee before 4,160, those same folks might believe coach Foster is crazy like ... (click for more)