published Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Tennessee officials visit Bradley Central High School

The new fine arts building at Bradley Central High School should be ready for classes in the fall.
The new fine arts building at Bradley Central High School should be ready for classes in the fall.
Photo by Jake Daniels.
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CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Some state government leaders got a preview Wednesday of Bradley Central High School's new $3 million fine arts building.

Tennessee Treasurer David Lillard, Secretary of State Tre Hargett and state Rep. Eric Watson, R-Cleveland, toured the 600-seat auditorium, band rooms and related classrooms.

Before the tour, Lillard and Hargett spoke to a room full of school administrators at the county schools' central office.

Lillard told teachers the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System is one of the highest-rated such systems in the nation.

"During the downturn we took losses like everybody else did," he said. "But we have about 45 percent of our assets in fixed income, so we took less losses than most people did."

Lillard also promoted the Tennessee Financial Literacy Commission created in 2010 by the General Assembly.

A college savings program for Tennessee families is coming soon and will create "tax advantaged" savings accounts for future college educations, he said. The program will involve teachers, school systems and families, Lillard said.

Hargett said that, while his office gets the most attention for overseeing elections, there are many other responsibilities for his 400 employees.

"One of my labors of love is history education," he said. "Math and science are the future of our state, but also our children have to understand the history of our state and nation so as not to repeat the mistakes of the past."

The secretary of state's office handles duties including overseeing libraries and state archives.

Bradley County school board Chairman Troy Weathers told officials that schools here are facing growing needs. He asked that the state keep the county's needs in mind.

Director of Schools Johnny McDaniel introduced the officials to the fine arts building, calling it "a great investment." The early expectation was that it would cost $5 million, but the center was completed for $3 million, he said.

The center also creates room in the rest of the school for other classes, including junior ROTC, he said.

Both Hargett and Lillard were guests Monday evening of the Cleveland city school system for the opening of its new science wing at Cleveland High School.

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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