Cleveland needs new school to keep up with booming growth in are - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Cleveland needs new school to keep up with booming growth in area

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Cleveland City Schools plans to build its seventh elementary school with a price tag of $15.6 million. Administrators say they're in "dire" need of a new school because of booming growth in the area.

The number of students enrolled in the school district is at an all-time high. School officials say they desperately need a new school because they've already run out of space.

"We are really busting at the seams at all six of our elementary schools," said Superintendent Martin Ringstaff.

Ringstaff said student enrollment has steadily climbed in recent years from 4,800 in 2010 to over 5,300 currently.

To keep up with those numbers, the school district recently unveiled a plan for a new, $15.6 million elementary school that can hold up to 700 students.

"A new school is inevitable," said Ringstaff. "It has to happen because we're already overcrowded, and people continue to move here."

The school's location, off Georgetown Road, is just west of I-75 -- the area of the city currently seeing the most growth.

"Having a school at this location, versus driving further into town to the closest schools, will really make for a lot of convenience for area homeowners," said Robert Bradney of Bender Realty.

Bradney explained how Cleveland's location is a plus for prospective home buyers.

In the last 5 years, 1,926 residential building permits and 547 commercial building permits were awarded in Bradley County.

"(Cleveland is) close to the metropolitan areas, but yet being on the edge of those," said Bradney. "You also have franchise restaurants, good stores, all that kind of stuff. It's just an area that kind of fits in between."

The future school's property on Georgetown Road is already paid for. Right now, the city is trying to find a way to fund construction without tax hikes, but that may be tough to do, with a price tag over $15 million.

"The more students, the merrier, to me. But at the same time, we have to have classroom space for them," Ringstaff said.

"And right now, we simply do not have classroom space."

School officials hope to lock in funding next year. That means the new school would open, ideally, sometime in 2018.

School Patrol

David Carroll covers education news and issues at schools across the Tennessee Valley.


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