UPDATE: Channel 3 is getting a closer look at the new East Hamilton Middle School.

Hamilton County school officials presented the design for the new building during a community meeting on Tuesday night.

The new building will be 165,000 square feet. The entire site will take up 33 acres.

It's a lot of space, but school officials say it's needed to address the overcrowding at the current middle-high school.

For years, East Hamilton parents and students have dealt with growing pains. But soon that won't the case.

“I was very impressed. I think that it was very well designed. It appears they have a solid plan in place,” parent, Cindy Lewis says.

Many watched as the design for a new East Hamilton Middle School was revealed.

The school will house 1,200 students in grades six through eight. It will also come with four new athletic fields.

However, there are some concerns.

“Traffic is always a concern in our area and definitely the traffic on E. Brainerd Road is a bit of a worry,” says Lewis.

Right now, parents say pick-up and drop off traffic stretches onto the main roads. School officials say they have a solution, aside from staggering school start times.

“We’re going to put in a new road. We’re going to separate our car riders from our bus riders and we’re going to circle the traffic around the middle school and tie in the exit with Apison Elementary,” says Justin Witt, director of auxiliary services for Hamilton County schools.

Rezoning is another concern. Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson said it's a top priority.

The new East Hamilton Middle School will be near Apison Elementary School.

Construction is set to start in February.

The school is expected to open for the 2020-2021 school year.

Stay with the WRCB app for updates to this story.


PREVIOUS UPDATE: Aging schools are top of mind for many in the community, it's why the school district allotted $125 million last year to address some of the greatest needs.

Tuesday night, community members will be able to see the plans for the new East Hamilton Middle School building.

Walk down the halls of some of Hamilton County's schools, and you'll see why they're in need of some 'TLC.'

"These were the most pressing, and the ones that we could get done with the money available, and the most efficient in the use of those funds," Tim Hensley, HCDE Communication's Officer said.

Some of the facilities are between 75 and 100 years old. Last fall, the school board made a list of maintenance priorities, which included two new school buildings, mergers and renovations.

"What we tried to do is take what we have and try to get us to a place where we can begin to get in front of some of our deferred maintenance issues and begin to plan for the long term," Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson explained.

Superintendent Johnson said by focusing on renovations rather than building new schools, the district will save about $67 million. The plan includes merging Tyner Middle with the high school in a renovated building. This will allow Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts to move in across the street, but some Tyner parents are concerned about safety.

"You have kids in the six grade," Cheril Wilson said. "They're still babies, and I understand they might be on one side or another, but they're going to meet up eventually, so parents are worried about their safety.".

The school board outlined 14 different projects to be completed over the next few years.

Major plans include:

  • Building a replacement building for Harrison Elementary School
  • New East Hamilton Middle School
  • An addition at Snow Hill Elementary
  • Renovations at Howard Middle School
  • Tyner Middle will merge with a renovated Tyner High School
  • CSLA will move into the Tyner Middle School building where renovations will be made 
  • New Howard High stadium and track
  • New Lookout Valley Elementary multipurpose room
  • Fieldhouse and tennis court renovation at Lookout Valley High
  • HVAC replacement at Center for Creative Arts
  • New elevator at Normal Park
  • Tennis court renovation and track improvement at Hixson High
  • Track improvements at Central High, Brainerd High and Soddy-Daisy High 

Community members can take their concerns and questions to public meetings for the projects.

"The architects really like to work with the school and the community to find out what kind of school they're looking for. So this is important for the architect to be able to get the feedback from the community," Hensley explained.

The community will have the opportunity to take a closer look at the features of the new middle school. TWH Architects representatives will be on hand to answer questions and take suggestions.

As architects, complete drawings for other projects in the school district, Hensley said they plan to hold meetings for those communities.

Last September, commissioners approved the first property tax increase in over a decade. As a result, $100 million was allocated to the school district.

The public meeting to view plans for the new East Hamilton Middle School is on Tuesday, July 10 at 6:30 pm at East Hamilton School. The meeting will be in the theater with Mayor Jim Coppinger and Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson opening up the program.


PREVIOUS STORY: A public meeting is set for Tuesday night for those interested in checking out the plans for the new East Hamilton Middle School.

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in the theater of East Hamilton School.  Representatives from TWH Architects will be on hand to give an overview of the project.   County Mayor Jim Coppinger and Hamilton County School Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson will lead the program. 

There will be a question and answer session and the opportunity to provide suggestions for consideration for the new school.

The new East Hamilton Middle will be located near Apison Elementary School.

The school is a project in the $125 million building plan approved by the Hamilton County Board of Education last October. The Hamilton County Commission approved funding to address school facility needs in September.

The building plan includes a new building for Harrison Elementary, additions to Snow Hill Elementary, renovations at Howard Middle, renovations for Tyner High that will include a merger with Tyner Middle, and renovations to the Tyner Middle facility that will be the new home of Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts. As architects complete initial drawings for projects, additional meetings will be held in those communities.