published Friday, February 7th, 2014

Cleveland City Council to consider high school gym design options

Cleveland High School's Raider Dome, which houses the school's gymnasium, has been closed to students after city school officials reviewed a recent structural analysis of the facility.
Cleveland High School's Raider Dome, which houses the school's gymnasium, has been closed to students after city school officials reviewed a recent structural analysis of the facility.
Photo by Paul Leach.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — The city school board will present design alternatives to the Cleveland City Council on Monday for a new gymnasium at Cleveland High School.

The school is looking to replace the Raider Dome, whose gym and wellness facilities were closed in December following an unfavorable structural analysis.

At a special called meeting Thursday, the board voted 7-0 to present two options to the council: one that would merely replace the current facilities and another option that meets board recommendations.

The matter comes down to costs and addressing current and future needs, said board members.

“We’ve got one shot to go with this, so let’s get it right,” said Dr. Martin Ringstaff, director of Cleveland City Schools.

Preliminary construction estimates ranged between $10.6 million and $13.16 million, according to a presentation of five alternate design plans made by Brian Templeton of Upland Design.

Those figures could change based on alterations the school board makes, said Templeton.

The most expensive design, measuring 65,430 square feet, provided a bleacher seating capacity of 2,700, four classrooms, a large multipurpose room and space for wellness programs and offices.

The bare-bones design, measuring 51,775 square feet, offered no classrooms or multipurpose space and could only accommodate 2,200 people in bleacher seating.

An elevated walkway, lobby area and public restrooms are key features in all designs.

Cleveland High School Principal Autumn O’Bryan said leaving out classroom space is a bad idea. She said the gymnasium is not just about athletics ­ it’s also about required student wellness programming.

Wellness classes have been moved to other parts of the school since the Raider Dome closed.

City Council members recently voiced interest in constructing a multipurpose facility that could seat more than 2,000 people and host graduations, tournaments and other events.

The current gym seats just 1,500 people, O’Bryan said, which presents challenges for large events.

Along with the new gym, the city school system has plans for a $16.1 million elementary school on Georgetown Road. Architectural work on the project began almost a year ago.

That school is needed to reduce overcrowding and meet the demands of expected growth in Cleveland City Schools, education officials said.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

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