OOLTEWAH, TN (WRCB) - As Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Rick Smith noted the size of the Ooltewah Elementary School, he told an audience of parents and students, "If you go from one end of the hall to the other, it's longer than two football fields!"

The school is a $21.5 million dollar project with a 1,100 student capacity, and currently houses 832 students, making it the largest elementary school in the county.  "It is going to keep growing, just like this community," said District 9 County Commissioner Chester Bankston.  He noted the traffic problems outside the old school, near I-75.  "That's become a retail district, but this is a beautiful place for a school," Bankston said.

Principal Tom Arnold said the first few weeks have been successful, as he and the faculty have blended longtime students with new enrollees from the Snow Hill district, and Birchwood Elementary, which closed last spring. 

Bankston concluded, "Every school has a toolbox to teach students, and this school has all the tools, all the technology.  It's going to be great, and we're going to be proud of these teachers and children."

CONTACT DAVID CARROLL:  dcarroll@wrcbtv.com