published Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Blue Springs School’s future spurs concern

Bradley County Building Inspector Tina Bishop and County Emergency Management Agency official Jeff Gunter make an assessment visit Friday to Blue Springs Elementary School. Blue Springs and Michigan ˇøøvenue were the county's schools hardest hit by the tornadoes but others have damage too. County schools are out next week but Cleveland City Schools are back on a routine schedule.
Staff Photo by Randall Higgins/Chattanooga Times Free Press
Bradley County Building Inspector Tina Bishop and County Emergency Management Agency official Jeff Gunter make an assessment visit Friday to Blue Springs Elementary School. Blue Springs and Michigan ˇøøvenue were the county's schools hardest hit by the tornadoes but others have damage too. County schools are out next week but Cleveland City Schools are back on a routine schedule. Staff Photo by Randall Higgins/Chattanooga Times Free Press

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Blue Springs community residents are concerned about the future of their elementary school.

The school was demolished in the April 27 tornadoes. Students are attending Waterville Community Elementary School for the remainder of the school year.

No announcements have been made about the next school year, parent Kristy Hughes said, and that’s got community members worried.

“They need to be in their own environment and not shipped off to other schools,” Hughes told Bradley County commissioners on Monday.

She said the community realizes the final decision rests with the county school board, but she urged commissioners to stand by the county’s smallest elementary school with 350 students in grades first through eighth.

A community meeting is set for Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Freedom Fellowship Church, 3555 Blue Springs Road.

“Our families have lost so much already,” Hughes said. “This school is the heart of our community. The school has been in our community for 115 years. We feel that losing the school, we will lose the community.”

Blue Springs and Michigan Avenue were the schools hardest hit by the storms in Bradley County. Michigan Avenue students are finishing the year at the new First Baptist Church on Stuart Road.

Several years ago, the county school board considered closing Blue Springs because of its size.

Commissioner Robert Rominger, whose district includes Blue Springs, said the school is in his heart.

He thanked Waterville officials for helping but said, “I was thinking that maybe some of our churches or somebody could house our students and keep them together.”

Commissioner Bill Winters, an educator himself, said the school board is working on the future for the school.

“They probably do not have answers themselves at this point,” he said. “I don’t think they want to give you information now that might change later.”

Contact Randall Higgins at rhiggins@timesfreepress.com or 423-314-1029.

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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