‘Footprints’ approved and ready to walk

Maryville School Board gives OK to Phase 1 of high school master plan

The footprints are now down on paper.

Phase I of Maryville High School’s Master Plan received approval by the Maryville City School Board on Monday, beginning the process of boosting the school to being able to handle enrollment of 2,200 students.

Phase 1 includes new central offices, lockers, gym, library, auditorium and a rearrangement of classrooms. These new classrooms would be organized per school subjects, contractor Lawler-Wood’s Executive Vice President Barry Brooke said. The plans would boost the school to 400,000 square feet with 116 classrooms and have a capacity of 2,200 students.

“We now have the main footprints down on paper (and) we can move forward,” said Kristin Grove, project manager.

Of the areas designated in the plan as potential long-term acquisitions, Grove said they would not be acquired in “the foreseeable future.” An area off Cunningham Street, however, would be acquired earlier than expected because of problems with school buses navigating the road.

The board also approved the location of the new intermediate school on Sevierville Road, but the roads surrounding the school will have to be approved by the board after a two-to-three week traffic study.

The school’s architecture will be in a traditional setting but it will feature green-energy conserving construction, said Grove. There will be areas of natural lighting in the 150,000-square-foot building, “stacked classrooms,” and it will have a capacity of 900 students, she said.

Finally the board approved a list of upgrades and maintenance to Sam Houston Elementary, Maryville Middle School, John Sevier Elementary School and Fort Craig Dynamic Learning Center. Brooke said the developments are priority, but he wants to find the most cost effective way to handle them. He said any work would have to wait until next year due to costs. “There is just no way we could do it this summer,” he said.

After the presentation, Maryville High School Principal Mike Casteel gave his report on graduation ceremonies. This year Maryville High School graduation is May 19 at the Thompson-Boiling Arena but in 2009 the date is undecided.

Casteel said the only date available next year is Sunday May 17 “if we want it, (but) it creates issues.” That Sunday is the same day Maryville College has its Baccalaureate at 2 p.m. and its graduation ceremony at 6 p.m. Chairman Carolyn McAmis said she would rather not have it on that date. “In my opinion … Maryville College is a wonderful neighbor for us. I would like to try to not interfere,” she said. “People move here for Maryville College and they accept our kids. I would hate to see conflict.

Casteel said if the graduation was moved back a week it would “create all kinds of problems.” He said it would violate the number of days required for graduation, and it would interrupt advance placement exams. If it was moved a week after the 17th, he said seniors would be out of school with no contact for three days and gateway exams would have begun.

“We would like to explore 11 or 11:30 a.m. to accompany for (our) kids and families of college graduates,” Casteel said. But he said as of right now it “looks like there really is no good option.”

The next meeting will be May 12 at 7 p.m.

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