published Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Hardwick Farms school location offer discussed in Cleveland

  • photo
    Yolanda Allen cuts hay in a 1965 Case tractor with an umbrella for shade at Hardwick Farm off North Lee Highway in Cleveland, Tenn.
    Photo by Margaret Fenton

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CLEVELAND, Tenn. — A developer has discussed with the Cleveland city school board making an offer of $750,000 for 15 acres at Hardwick Farms as a city school site.

The board's site committee discussed the offer Wednesday during a meeting about several other issues. The committee of board members considers buildings and grounds issues before they come to the full school board.

The proposal, $50,000 per acre for 15 acres, came from the developer and must be approved by the Stuart family, heirs to the property and attorneys. The school eventually could be adjacent to a planned community residential development at Hardwick Farms, as well.

"We would really like to move ahead on this," said committee Chairman Murl Dirksen. He said he hopes a formal proposal will be on the board's May 7 agenda.

After the committee meeting, bids were opened for a new heating and air system for the west wing of Cleveland High School. The summer project would replace some equipment installed 40 years ago when the school opened.

The bids included $334,500 from Chase Plumbing and Mechanical of Chattanooga; $323,000 from Four Seasons Inc. of Knoxville; $376,140 from J.D.C. Industrial Mechanical of Cleveland; and $355,760 from Rheaco Service Inc. of Dayton.

While the school board already has approved the project, all bids were above the estimated $260,000 expected by school officials.

There will be a prebid meeting for potential bidders on May 3 for rebuilding the high school's Betsy Vines Theater, board staff member Paul Ramsey said.

School security was another prime issue for the committee. Dr. Martin Ringstaff, school system director, said keyless security locks now are in use at Cleveland High. Teachers can "buzz" themselves in through doors otherwise secure.

"We would like to initiate that system citywide," Ringstaff said, "but it is a pricey system."

Maintenance and Transportation Director Bob True said work is planned this summer for a more secure lobby entrance at Blythe-Bower Elementary. That will be about a $10,000 project, he said.

Board member Dawn Robinson urged the city to include Stuart Elementary and maybe other city schools when applying for future Safe Routes to Schools grants through the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Blythe-Bower received a grant for sidewalks and lighting now in place. An application has been made for Arnold Elementary.

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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