The East Hamilton community held the groundbreaking ceremony for the new East Hamilton Middle School on Wednesday to signal the start of the exciting project for families in the community. The program included current middle school students from East Hamilton Middle/High, local political leaders, school district leaders, and parents. MBI Companies, Inc., the architectural firm for the project, brought a display that allowed participants to experience a high-tech virtual reality tour of the school before construction crews put the first brick into place.
Mayor Jim Coppinger, area Commissioner Sabrena Smedley, Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson, Architect Ronny Rahn, Chairman Joe Wingate of the Hamilton County Board of Education and Bill Long, a parent of children who will attend the news school spoke at the ceremony that began at 1 p.m. on the property on Bentwood Cove Drive behind Apison Elementary. The East Hamilton Middle Choir students also sang to mark the occasion.
East Hamilton Middle School will be a 175,000-square foot facility in the Missionary Ridge Learning Community and is a major project in the $125 million building plan approved by the Hamilton County Board of Education in October 2017. The Hamilton County Commission approved funding of East Hamilton Middle and other district building projects to address school facility needs earlier in 2017. The capacity of the new school will hold 1,200 students so that the building can accommodate the growth expected in the East Hamilton community.
Work is already underway in earnest on the site for the new school that will feature the latest learning technology, labs, group learning areas, and STEM labs. The school site will also have athletic fields for football, soccer, softball, and baseball.
East Hamilton Middle will be the new home to sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade students in the East Hamilton area when the school opens in August 2020.
In addition to the new East Hamilton Middle School, 15 other projects were in the building plan approved by the board. The additional projects are at a variety of stages of development or construction. Projects scheduled to open in August include an addition at Snow Hill Elementary and a renovation of the Howard Connect Academy, (the old Howard Middle facility.) Howard High also has a new stadium and track under construction that should be ready for football season this fall.
The next project to hold a groundbreaking ceremony before school is out will be the new Harrison Elementary project in the Harrison Bay Learning Community. The new school will be built on Highway 58 across the street from the existing school on property adjacent to Brown Middle School. The new Harrison Elementary will have 80 classrooms, age-appropriate playgrounds for different age groups, a gym, and makerspace for children to use in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. The new Harrison Elementary will have a capacity of 880 students, and the anticipated completion date is in the fall of 2020.
Additional projects in the building plan include renovations at Tyner Academy and Tyner Middle; new tracks at Soddy Daisy High, Hixson High, Central High, and Brainerd High; and elevator work at Normal Park Museum Magnet. A multipurpose room is slated for Lookout Valley Elementary; tennis courts and a remodel of the field house are in the works for Lookout Valley Middle/High; and Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts is in line to receive a replacement of heating and air conditioning equipment.