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

Roy Exum: Girls - ‘I Can And I Will’

Every night after the Rodriguez girls went to sleep not that long ago in a grim, rat-infested basement apartment on Chicago’s South Side, their father – a boxing referee who came to America from Puerto Rico -- would kneel beside the girls’ bed and whisper in each child’s ear. Their parents made them sleep hot-dog style, tightly wrapped in the same sheet and pressed together to protect ... (click for more)

Discrepancies About The Power Uprate At Browns Ferry

Some facts regarding the power uprate at Browns Ferry to share with the Scottsboro Environmental group opposing the uprate:  1.  The reactor does not run at a higher temperature due to the uprate.  There is simply more flow of feedwater, thus more steam.  So the concern about higher temperatures is unwarranted.   2.  The change in the fuel was ... (click for more)

Family Forced From Home After Storm Blows Tree Down

As a severe thunderstorm blew through the Chattanooga area Sunday afternoon, high winds knocked down a large tree onto a house around  4 p.m.  at 1105 E. 13th Street. Captain David Thompson, Jr. said no one was injured, but the damage was severe enough that the family would have to stay elsewhere  tonight . Volunteers with the American Red Cross of Southeast ... (click for more)

Michael Wilson Back In Bradley County; Due In Court On Monday

Michael Wilson is back in Bradley County, and was escorted into the Correctional Facility around 8:15 p.m. Wilson’s first appearance in court will be on Monday, at 9 a.m. in the Bradley County General Sessions Courtroom at the Judicial Complex at 2290 Blythe Ave. Wilson was arrested last week, after e ndangered Bradley County child Skyla Wilson was found safe in Colorado ... (click for more)

Lookouts' Bullpen Failure Leads To Come-From-Behind Win For Suns Sunday

The Lookouts were in control of  Sunday  afternoon's game up until the eighth and ninth inning when the M-Braves scored three runs to beat Chattanooga, 5-4. Chattanooga's offense jumped out to an early lead after being sparked by leadoff hitter Zach Granite. Granite started the home half of the first with a base hit to right field, danced on and off of first base ... (click for more)

Mocs Volleyball Sweeps Chattanooga Classic

The Chattanooga Mocs volleyball team completed their fourth 3-0 sweep of the weekend on Sunday afternoon against California State at Fullerton as part of the Chattanooga Classic – presented by Hampton Inn & Suites - held in Maclellan Gym. The Mocs came out swinging by winning the first set 25-11 and then went on to win 25-18 and 25-17 in sets two and three, respectively. ... (click for more)