Alcoa City School Board approves new high school site, floor, design plans
by Matthew Stewart | (email@example.com)
During Thursday evening’s meeting, Alcoa Director of Schools Brian Bell presented the school’s floor plan, site plan and overall design. Board members unanimously approved the three items.
Alcoa City Schools has identified 32.4 acres southeast of Faraday Street for the school’s site. The new Alcoa High School is being placed where the softball and baseball fields are currently located.
The district will relocate the two fields that will be re-established south of the Lake Louise area, a former waste disposal site that was filled in several years ago.
The 32.4-acre tract is located 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.
Alcoa’s approved site plan is different from earlier announced plans.
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 Thursday afternoon interview with The Daily Times. “After much thought and discussion, we determined it’d be in our best interest to select the current site. It’s relatively flat, and site development costs are more manageable.”
The school district also wants to be a good neighbor, he said. “We want to be extremely sensitive to the Springbrook community’s needs. We didn’t want to disturb the community’s quiet, quaint feel. We’re actually taking traffic out of the community instead of adding to traffic congestion.”
The school’s site plan further provides Alcoa City Schools with room for future growth, Bell said. “We’ll have room to grow and expand through the building’s life.”
School officials have outlined three development phases, he said. 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 across Lodge Street from the current gym; and the third phase will be a track and football stadium renovations.
The stadium renovation project’s scope will include a new field house, press box and concessions area, Bell said. Officials also plan to renovate the grandstands and move to a synthetic turf field system.
The building program’s second and third phases will be completed as funding becomes available, he said.
SALES TAX INCREASE?
City and school officials hope to pay for the new Alcoa High School, which is estimated to cost $29,795,000, with a local sales tax increase.
Alcoa City Commission is asking citizens to consider raising the local sales tax in a referendum. The city’s local rate is 2.25 percent, and the state allows for 2.75 percent.
If citizens approved a sales tax increase, the city would collect $3,140,000. However, Blount County could adopt a sales tax increase as well.
If the county adopted an increase, Alcoa’s city share would be $1,570,000 and Alcoa City Schools would collect $141,300 for a total of $1,711,300.
If the referendum passes and Alcoa City Commission approves funds for the project, officials hope to start construction in March 2013. The project’s estimated completion date is Dec. 1, 2014.