CLEVELAND, Tenn. — City school officials told the Cleveland City Council on Monday that the Hardwick Farms site on North Lee Highway is the best site for a new elementary school.
The city school board picked the site last week.
Murl Dirksen, the school board’s site committee chairman, said negotiations will begin now with the property owners.
The owners plan to develop a residential and commercial community on the farm, and that alone could equal a new school, Dirksen said.
“Nobody has set a price yet,” Dirksen said.
Martin Ringstaff, city schools director, said the system averages 100 new students each year. Because it takes about three years to build and open a new school, time is critical, he said.
“We are showing growth of 122 students this year,” Ringstaff said.
The city has added 13 teachers over two years to meet state standards, he said.
“We have no place to go elementary school-wise,” Ringstaff said.
Councilmen Dale Hughes and George Poe asked why the current airport, which is soon to close and is near Hardwick Farms, could not be used as a school site because it is city owned.
Ringstaff said the airport has access problems as a school site.
City officials are waiting to see what Bradley County does about the county school board’s request for school construction funding. Any money raised by the county for school construction must be shared with the city, based on student population. That could amount to $12 million, or the cost of a new school, city officials said.
The county has not made a decision on school funding.
Contact staff writer Randall Higgins at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-314-1029.
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 ...