Hamilton Co. Commission approves new Ganns-Falling Water school - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Hamilton Co. Commission approves new Ganns-Falling Water school

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) - After years of fighting, parents in two communities are celebrating the fact their children will soon have a new school. 

The Hamilton County Commission unanimously approved funding for construction of a brand new school to replace Ganns Middle Valley Elementary and Falling Water Elementary.

Although the price tag came in above budget, the school system argues the project is long overdue.

"This has been a long awaited project that has been needed in this community," says Ganns Middle Valley Principal Allyson DeYoung.

About 600 students attend Ganns Middle Valley Elementary School and around 200 go to Falling Water Elementary. Both are bursting at the seams, with students in portable trailers and both are old and beyond repair.

"You're talking about Falling Water, who's well over 100 years old and Ganns Middle Valley is approaching 80 years," says DeYoung.

Ganns Middle Valley Principal Allyson DeYoung understands securing funding can be a challenge .

"You're wondering, 'Is it going to happen?' But you know, I have confidence in our commission. I have confidence in our communities in knowing the importance of public education and doing what's important for our children," she says.

Commissioners originally estimated the project to cost between 25 and $26 million but it came in higher at $29 million.

"In reality it was about 27 percent (higher). And it's just reflective of an improving economy," says Hamilton County Assistant Superintendent Gary Waters.

Waters says part of the additional cost, which will be covered by bonds, comes from a tight construction deadline. The new school will be built directly behind existing Ganns Middle Valley.

"We're talking about building a 149,000 square foot facility in 13 months. It's a very ambitious schedule and it had to be contractors that could assemble that kind of work force," says Waters.

DeYoung says the investment goes beyond a new building.

"It's an opportunity to bring two very old school buildings together into a brand new school and build a really strong community together," she says.

The construction job went to local company Rentenbach Constructors.

The goal is to have the new school open for Fall of 2016.

Crews start breaking ground next week.
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