Future of Marion Prep Academy still up in the air - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Future of Marion Prep Academy still up in the air

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MARION COUNTY, TN (WRCB)- The Marion County School Board is moving forward with plans to discuss the future of Marion Prep Academy.

In October the building was deemed a hazard by the State Fire Marshal, but housed students until recently.

Tuesday night school officials voted on what action they should take next.

In October the State Fire Marshal's office was tipped off about classes still being taught at Marion County Academy.

It used to be an elementary school but the Fire Marshal shut it down in July of 2001 after finding multiple safety violations, including asbestos.

Ten years later the Fire Marshal found those same violations had not been fixed, except for the asbestos.

"We did comply with her request on moving the students out," says Marion County Director of Schools, Mark Griffith.

Tuesday night, Griffith and the rest of the school board discussed what they should do next with the building.

It was decided a special meeting should be held to take a deeper look at their options.

"We just wanted to comply with the Fire Marshal's request and put a plan together to utilize that facility in the future," says Griffith.

"How do you know that a building has so many safety violations for 10 years and you keep the children in there?" asks Ann Barnes.

Parents like Barnes spoke to Channel 3 after the latest Fire Marshal's report surfaced, saying they are frustrated children were still allowed in the building.

"It needs to be torn down. There's no need for it. It's too old, they can't do anything with it," says Barnes.

When asked if he can understand the frustration from parents, Griffith answered, "Absolutely, absolutely. I do understand that. But I can assure you also with that, the facility and the staff that was there was very, knowledgeable of what to do if anything ever come about, I'll say that."

He says they will work quickly to find a solution.

In the meantime, students from Marion Prep are being housed at Jasper Middle and Marion High.

The board plans on holding that special meeting sometime in December but no word on a date yet.

We will continue to follow this story.

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