Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy hosted a community-wide event Wednesday to celebrate the opening of Hutton Gymnasium. The newly renovated athletic building at 1800 Vance Ave. represents the completion of the first phase of a campus expansion initiative.
According to Dr. Elaine Swafford, executive director of CGLA, the Hutton Gymnasium adds a necessary dimension to creating a vibrant learning experience. “Establishing and maintaining strong athletics and extra-curricular programs are central to our educational philosophy. Students who participate in balanced competition and physical activity gain lifelong social, emotional, and physical benefits. By encouraging sport-specific knowledge and talents, we are helping students develop critical thinking, collaboration and leadership skills.”
Named to honor the generosity and leadership of CGLA supporter Karen Hutton, the gymnasium is a part of the school’s capital improvement plan. A 16,000 square-foot structure, Hutton Gymnasium features a basketball court with seating for 800 spectators, a fitness/exercise deck, an injury/training room, a classroom space, offices for coaches, a new sound system, a concessions stand, and indoor/outdoor LED lighting.
"Karen Hutton is a force of nature,” said Virginia Anne Sharber, member of the CGLA board of directors. “Not only has she been incredibly generous with her support for the gym, she is a role model for our students, demonstrating success that results from hard work, perseverance, and commitment.”
A long-standing and willing advocate of CGLA, Ms. Hutton is an entrepreneur, philanthropist and education activist. The founder and president of HUTTON, a national construction and real estate development company, Ms. Hutton donated more than $500,000 to the gymnasium renovation project.
“Karen is a selfless and unassuming person; so we were especially excited to surprise her by naming this wonderful building Hutton Gymnasium,” noted Dr. Sue Anne Wells, CGLA co-founder and president of the board of directors. “Karen believes that an exceptional school is a blend of great people, great ideas, and great environments. Her zealous commitment and infinite kindness are creating opportunities that advance student achievement.”
Ms. Hutton’s gift sparked interest and generated support from local businesses and numerous concerned citizens. CGLA garnered broad community support that included notable gifts from Adman Electric; Artect Design Group; B & B Plumbing; Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Foundation; Bock Construction Inc.; Carter Distributing; Chattanooga State Community College; Coca-Cola; Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga; Cornerstone Bank; European
Works; Foam-Crete, Inc.; Food City; Holsum Bakery; Krista Eubanks; Jake Marshall Services, Inc.; James Countertops; Lockers, Bleachers, and Cabinets, Inc.; Mechanical & Electrical Group, LLC; RCS Fabrication, Inc.; Sequatchie Concrete; Service Partners; Shaw Industries; Tennessee Lighting Sales, Inc.; TVA; Wallace Braud Production Services; and Weldon F. Osborne Foundation.