Consultants Propose Sweeping County School Closures, Renovations, New Buildings

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

A preliminary report from consultants includes sweeping school closures, renovations and new school buildings and additions for the Hamilton County Schools.

The plan by MGT Consulting Group has a number of long-standing programs moving to new locations in renovated or new buildings. It also calls for extensive redistricting to balance school populations.

The proposal as it now stands recommends closing 15 schools, relocating seven programs, repurposing nine schools, building three new schools, tearing down and rebuilding three schools, renovating 11 schools and renovating and making additions to 10 other schools.

Officials said they will gather input from stakeholders, conduct community forums, then refine the plan and present recommendations November/December.

The $500,000 report says the county schools have $1.36 billion in facilities upgrade needs as it now stands. That includes building and program deficiencies.

That does not include costs associated with adding capacity or account for cost saving associated with closing schools, the report says.

It says a preferred size of a school would have 1,000 students. The average enrollment at county schools is 695.

For the western part of the county, the report recommends closing a number of schools. These include:

+ Soddy Daisy Middle School - close building and move students to Daisy Elementary, which becomes Soddy Daisy Middle School. Capacity is to be added for 377 students.

* Sequoyah High School - close building and relocate CTE programs to new CTE Center at current Barger Elementary site

* Alpine Crest Elementary - close and move students to Dupont Elementary

* Rivermont Elementary - close and move students to Dupont Elementary

It is planned to tear down the current Dupont Elementary and build a new Dupont Elementary to serve 1,200 students K-5

Sale Creek Middle/High - renovate original building part; also renovate Hixson Elementary, Hixson High, Red Bank High, North Hamilton Elementary, McConnell Elementary and Soddy Daisy High. Add capacity for 377 students at Daisy Elementary.

Soddy Elementary, taking students from Daisy Elementary, would become Soddy Daisy Elementary. Big Ridge Elementary would be renovated and add capacity for another 150 students.

The plan calls for redistrict 200 Nolan Elementary students to Thrasher Elementary at Signal Mountain. Thrasher would be renovated to add 400 students.

For the southern part of the county, the report recommends closing Normal Park Lower and Upper and move students to a renovated and expanded Center for Creative Arts (old City High). Programs would be consolidated ina 1,400 student K-12 magnet building

The current Tyner High would be torn down. It its place would be built a new 2,000-student 6-12 building at the same site. Tyner Middle School would be torn down.

Brainerd High would be renovated and repurposed as the new location for Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences and Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts. Current Brainerd students would go to Tyner Middle/High, Howard Middle/High and East Ridge High.

The CSLA program would be moved to a new 1,200 K-5 building on the current Brainerd High campus on North Moore Road. The existing CSLA building would be torn down with the site retained for future school use.

The existing CSAS site at the former City High and then Riverside High on East Third Street would be sold. The CSAS program would be moved to the current Brainerd High and expanded to 1,600 students grades 6-12.

Orchard Knob Middle School would be torn down with a new 1,000 student middle school built on site.

Dalewood Middle School would be renovated and repurposed for use by the Center for Creative Arts. Capacity would be added to allow for expansion of the CCA program to serve 800 students. Dalewood Middle students would move to a new Orchard Knob Middle School.

Lookout Valley Middle/High would be renovated and add capacity to create a 900 student K-12. Lookout Valley Elementary would be closed.

It is also recommended to close Lookout Mountain Elementary School and move those students to the Lookout Valley K-12.

Lakeside Elementary would be closed with 200 students moved to Harrison Elementary.

Hillcrest Elementary students would also move to Harrison Elementary and Hardy Elementary. It is recommended to consider renovating Hillcrest Elementary and repurposing as new location for Dawn and Washington Alternative.

Hardy Elementary students would move to Brown Academy and Battle Academy.

Battle Academy would turn into a K-2 building, and Brown Academy a 3-5 building.

The current Barger School on Brainerd Road would be torn down with a new CTE center built there to accommodate Sequoyah and Hamilton County High programs. Barger students would move to Woodmore and Bess T. Shepherd.

Woodmore Elementary would be renovated to add capacity for another 400 students.

Bess T. Shepherd would be renovated for another 300 students.

Spring Creek Elementary would be renovated for another 300 students.

The plan has 250 students from East Ridge Elementary moving to Spring Creek Elementary and 100 students to Woodmore Elementary.

East Ridge Middle would be renovated and 100 students would be redistricted to East Hamilton Middle. East Ridge High would be renovated. 

Also in the southern region, a new 1,000 student K-5 school would be built at an unspecified location. Possible sites are the old East Lake Academy or the W. 40th site. East Lake Elementary would send 200 students to the new elementary. East Lake Middle would send 200 students to Orchard Knob Middle. 

Calvin Donaldson School would be renovated to add capacity for 100 students.

At Howard High, there would be a new wing added to provide for an additional 450 6-8 students. Howard would be a 6-12 building.

Clifton Hills Elementary would be closed with the building torn down.

In the east region, The plan would be to close Hamilton County High School. Ooltewah High would be renovated and 600 students would be moved to East Hamilton High. There would be 200 students moved from Ooltewah Elementary to Snow Hill Elementary and 250 to Wallace A. Smith Elementary. Wallace A. Smith Elementary would be renovated to address deficiencies and add capacity for 300 students.

There would be renovations at Brown Middle School and Central High. Ooltewah Middle would also be renovated and 100 students moved to the new East Hamilton Middle.

Wolftever Elementary and Westview Elementary would be renovated so each could take 300 more students. Those would come from East Brainerd Elementary.

A new elementary school is likely to be needed in the east region, it was stated.

The county currently operates 74 schools.

The report notes that the county schools need to get ready for an anticipated 7.1 percent student growth and shifts in population. The 7.1 percent growth is set to occur between 2018 to 2028.

A plan objective is "to identify opportunities to gain efficiencies by reducing the number of schools and increasing the size of remaining schools.

It was found that average capacity in the elementary schools is 554, in the middle schools is 749, middle/high is 1,224 and high is 1,099.

 

 

 


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