New Alcoa High School moves forward
By Matthew Stewart | (email@example.com)
Despite additional location setbacks, city and school officials are making progress on the new Alcoa High School.
Alcoa City Schools recently determined the school’s proposed location wouldn’t work, as deeds for the district’s baseball and softball fields wouldn’t allow the school to be built on site, said Director of Schools Brian Bell.
School officials had identified 32.4 acres southeast of Faraday Street and discussed placing the new Alcoa High School where the softball and baseball fields are located. They planned to relocate the two fields.
The fields would have been re-established south of the Lake Louise area, a former waste disposal site that was filled in several years ago, near a wooded area.
In recent weeks, Alcoa City Schools has identified a comparably sized tract southeast of the district’s baseball and softball fields, west-southwest of the current Alcoa Middle School. The new school’s project team is analyzing the site.
Team members have issued the building’s 50 percent architectural design/development drawings, Bell said. They have received budget estimates based on these drawings and plan to present the estimates to school board members in the coming weeks.
Officials are “moving forward” on the project and plan to let bids in December, he said. They are working toward a possible groundbreaking in the first two weeks of December.
Different from earlier plans
Alcoa’s site plan has changed several times in recent months.
Officials have identified several tracts on the former ALCOA Inc. West Plant site. Chattanooga-based developers Kinsey Probasco Hays owns the 375-acre property, which is bounded Hall Road, Alcoa Highway, Hunt Road, Mills Street and Faraday Street.
School officials initially hoped to acquire a 10-acre tract — which includes the current high school’s lower parking lot and additional property across Faraday Street — for a new high school. They also hoped to acquire a 19-acre tract for parking and future athletic facilities.
The project team had planned to locate the 168,975-square-foot building in the area of Faraday and Lodge streets. However, team members later discovered site elevations between Maury Street and the former West Plant site weren’t ideal for the school.
“The cost to even out the site would have been great for this project,” Bell said, in a June 14 interview. “After much thought and discussion, we determined it’d be in our best interest to select the current site (32.4-acre tract where the baseball and softball fields are located). It’s relatively flat, and site development costs are more manageable.”
School officials have outlined three development phases. The project’s first phase will be the school, parking lots and roadwork; the second phase will be an auxiliary gym that will be constructed; and the third phase will be football stadium renovations and the construction of a track.
The stadium renovation project’s scope will include a new field house, press box and concessions area. Officials also plan to install a synthetic turf field system.
The building program’s second and third phases will be completed as funding becomes available.