School expansion focuses on safety - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

School expansion focuses on safety

Posted: Updated:
BRADLEY COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

Work continues on the addition to Walker Valley High School in Charleston, Tennessee. The 13,000 square foot building will house new classrooms to alleviate overcrowding.

"We opened in 2001 with 775 students," says Principal Danny Coggin. "We now have 1,564 students."

The growth has been welcomed, but the school district couldn't afford to pay for the inevitable annex in full. The community thought back to the tornado outbreak of April, 2011 for a possible solution.

"We lost a school in Bradley County, Blue Springs Elementary School, in 2011 during that storm. And this area got hit hard, too," recalls Coggin.

So to help protect students, teachers, and faculty the next time severe weather strikes, and to help pay for the expansion, it could double as a tornado shelter.

Because the addition is being built according to standards set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the government is covering $1.2 million of the total $1.7 million cost.

"The entire outside is reinforced concrete. So we pour every concrete cell on the outside of the building and put reinforced steel in it. So it's basically built like a bunker," explains Cason Conn, Senior Project Manager for Tri-Con, Inc., the Cleveland Tennessee-based contractor in charge of the job.

But the outside appearance matches that of the original building. Conn says it can withstand at least 200 mile-per-hour winds, the strength of an EF-5 tornado, and protect against flying debris. The technology of the "intense engineering" as he calls it has been tested by FEMA and is being used for the first time in the area.

"The thickness of the glass which is around two inches thick. The entire window system's about six inches thick. And you have this nice aluminum veneer here, but it's actually reinforced steel," says Conn.

It's peace of mind for senior Taryn Wilson and her friends.

"It'll make everybody feel safer. Because that was a horrible situation and we had never really been through something like that," says Wilson.

"The tornado safety bunker is going to be great, I think," adds senior Ashlyn Wilson.

"It makes me feel a lot safer," says junior Savannah Gondek, whose neighborhood was close to a tornado strike in 2011.

The rest of the funds are coming from the state and the school district. Conn says the addition should be done sometime in March.

  • NewsMore>>

  • Hidden contracts: do you know what you're signing?

    Hidden contracts: do you know what you're signing?

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:58 PM EDT2014-07-29 22:58:08 GMT
    When is the last time you signed a contract?  Months ago, years ago, never?  You may have signed one, without even knowing it.  We are basically entering into a contract every time we go online and click the "I agree" button.  But what exactly are you agreeing to?  Here are some of the hidden legalities in those "terms of agreement" pop ups that we rarely read.More
    When is the last time you signed a contract?  Months ago, years ago, never?  You may have signed one, without even knowing it.  We are basically entering into a contract every time we go online and click the "I agree" button.  But what exactly are you agreeing to?  Here are some of the hidden legalities in those "terms of agreement" pop ups that we rarely read.More
  • Jackson Co. Sheriff's Office search for attempted burglary suspect

    Jackson Co. Sheriff's Office search for attempted burglary suspect

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:48 PM EDT2014-07-29 22:48:42 GMT
     The Jackson County, Sheriff's Office in Alabama is needs public in locating 23-year-old Walter Lee Green III of Bryant, AL. More
     The Jackson County, Sheriff's Office in Alabama is needs public in locating 23-year-old Walter Lee Green III of Bryant, AL. More
  • Auto supplier for VW to bring jobs to McMinn County

    Auto supplier for VW to bring jobs to McMinn County

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:38 PM EDT2014-07-29 22:38:19 GMT
    The promise of the new CrossBlue being built in Chattanooga brings with it the promise of new jobs not only at the VW plant, but also area auto supply companies.More
    The promise of the new CrossBlue being built in Chattanooga brings with it the promise of new jobs not only at the VW plant, but also area auto supply companies.More
Powered by WorldNow
Can't find what you're looking for?

WRCB-TV
900 Whitehall Road
Chattanooga, TN 37405
(423) 267-5412

WRCB Jobs EEO | FCC Public Files

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WRCB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.