The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation has unveiled its first BlueCross Healthy Place project in Chattanooga, to be located near the campuses of Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy and Chattanooga Preparatory School.

The foundation is awarding $4.2 million to build out the new space and providing an $840,000 maintenance fund, bringing the total commitment to $5 million.

The site was chosen in response to a proposal organized by the Young Women’s Leadership Academy Foundation, and it will provide students from both schools, as well as area residents, with a new outdoor space designed for community and recreation.

During an official unveiling on Thursday before hundreds of cheering students, Scott Wilson, director of community relations and foundation for BlueCross, presented renderings of features proposed for the new space, including:

  • pavilion for community gatherings
  • walking track and sports courts
  • inclusive playgrounds for children 2-5 and 5-12
  • 40-yard dash and challenge courses
  • multi-purpose field with bleachers and concession area

“We want to thank BlueCross for the gift of our field of dreams,” said Dr. Sue Anne Wells, founder of CGLA.  “We are excited to share our space with not only our campus partners, but the entire community. When we moved to our location on Bailey Avenue in 2011, our goal was to become a community partner in Highland Park. This project is beyond anything we could have dreamed of at the time.” CGLA CEO Dr. Elaine Swafford called it "a game changer, not just for our schools, but for the community and other schools like East Lake and East Side."

“We are thrilled to see the development of this new space in our Highland Park community,” said Brad Scott , head of lower school at Chattanooga Preparatory.“It will be transformational for our student body as they gain access to what will be amazing landscaping and facilities. We are grateful to BlueCross for creating a green space for all community members to enjoy.”

BlueCross Healthy Place projects are underway in Memphis, Kingsport and Huntland, Tenn., but the Highland Park space will be the first in the Chattanooga area since the program began last year.

“It’s a wonderful partnership that will build on the great things already happening in Highland Park and these two schools.” 

The application period for BlueCross Healthy Place grants is currently closed, but the foundation will accept proposals for 2020 funding during the month of August 2019.