Cleveland School Board Presents Plans To City Council For New $12 Million Gym, Classrooms At Cleveland High

Monday, February 10, 2014 - by Hollie Webb

The Cleveland City School Board on Monday presented a blueprint for the construction of the new gym at Cleveland High to the Cleveland City Council, while asking for approval for funding.

Designed by architect Brian Templeton of the Upland Design Group, the plan features seating for 1,500 people in addition to several classrooms. The projected cost is $12 million.

Cleveland High Principal Autumn O'Bryan said the extra room is greatly needed. She said the fire marshal had been called to several basketball games. The school athletic director said with the state of the current gym, many of the sports programs had not been able to develop. He said some coaches had to hold practices off campus and rent facilities. 

Principal O'Bryan also pointed out that it was currently difficult to hold physical education classes without a facility.

The School Board members said they believed building a new gym was their best option. Dr. Martin Ringstaff said if they tried to repair the old gym, it would still be too small and there was no guarantee they would not have to fix it again in a few years.

Cleveland resident Ben Moore spoke to the Cleveland City Council on Monday about where the School Board would get its funding. He said the only way they had to pay for it was to raise taxes but that taxes were already high. He suggested allowing liquor and package stores in Cleveland and Bradley County so that part of the alcohol taxes could fund the gym.

He said, "It's coming. We're going to have package stores in Cleveland, Tennessee, one of these days, and it seems like we could use the money now as much as ever."

Also discussed at the meeting was the continuing flooding problem on Bowman Avenue. Residents explained again that every time it rained, their yards flood, some to a dangerous extent. City Council members told them they were working on fixing the drainage system as soon as possible.

Several board appointments and reappointments were also made. Chris Lyle, Brent Petit, Jim Williams and Dennis Epperson were all reappointed for 3-year terms to the Building Board of Adjustments and Appeals. For the Animal Shelter, Jill Barrett was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Cara Boudrot, to expire in June 2016. Also, Sherry Bryant was appointed as second alternate to the Beer Board.

Two ordinances were passed. The first was to abandon a portion of an unopened alley off of 17th Street NE. The second was an ordinance amending the 2014 budget.

It was also announced that Cleveland and Bradley County schools would be closed on Tuesday.

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