$125 Million County School Building Plan Includes Shifting CSLA To Tyner Middle; Combining Tyner High/Middle; New Harrison Elementary, New East Hamilton Middle

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Hamilton County School officials on Thursday unveiled a $125 million building plan that includes moving the Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts to the current Tyner Middle School, which will undergo a major renovation.

Tyner Middle will move across the street into Tyner High School. Both Tyner buildings have been under-utilized for a number of years.

There will also be a new Harrison Elementary School and a new East Hamilton Middle School.

Howard Middle School will be renovated, and there will be an addition at Snow Hill Elementary.

Much of the funding will come from the $100 million tax increase voted by the County Commission, and the schools will dip into fund balance.

CSLA, which is in a dilapidated building on East Brainerd Road, will become a K-12 school.

CSLA is set to open at the new site in August 2021.

The Snow Hill and Howard projects are set to be ready by August 2019.

Slated for 2020 openings are the new Harrison Elementary and East Hamilton Middle School and the merging of Tyner High and Middle.

New Supt. Bryan Johnson said, "We'll have a great liberal arts magnet school on one side of the street and a great math and science magnet school on the other."

Dr. Lee McDade said the County Commission "has been hammering for a decade about under-utilized buildings." He said when he went to Tyner that the school had 1,350 at the junior high and 1,400 at the high school, but there has been a sharp decline.

Sections of Tyner Middle will be torn away and there will be a new elementlary section built for CSLA.

Officials said both schools will get complete makeovers. Drawings of what they will look like were shown to the school board.

There will be community meetings at the affected schools.

Supt. Johnson said the schools will develop a 7-10-year plan to deal with remaining deferred maintenance issues. He said closing CSLA and fixing the two Tyner Schools would go a long way toward cutting the deferred maintenance level of some $360 million.

A deferred maintenance consultant will be  brought in.

Supt. Johnson said school zone lines need to be tightened up. He said students should have "a clear oath" on where they will be going to middle school and high school after elementary.

He said the plan was drawn up based on a school board priority list last February and input from a community survey and a task force created by County Mayor Jim Coppinger.

The changes will increase average student enrollment in buildings from 554 to 600.

Prices for the new construction are calculated at $200 per square foot. 

The plan also includes a Lookout Valley multi-purpose room, an HVAC system at Center for the Creative Arts, an elevator at Normal Park School and improved athletic facilities.

There will be a 25 percent reduction in portable classroom buildings.

East Hamilton Middle will be built for 1,200 students and Harrison for 750 with expansion space prepped.

The layout for the new CSLA shows a new elementary section at the front right and the high school at the rear. There will be an elementary and middle school gym at the front left behind a parking section. The middle school is shown in the middle in an existing building. Toward the rear in front of the high school will be a music area and cafeteria. 

For the new Tyner High/Middle, the middle school is shown to the left of the existing high school to the right of the existing auditorium. The existing high school remains on the right. 

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