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LetterToTheEditor — Build a new high school now in deep West Knox County, Jablonski says

Dear Editor:

If you want to kill the initiative for the new high school just pick the wrong location. A student population study has been conducted by the Knox County Schools system. According to that study, there are 50 high school students residing within a mile radius of the proposed high school site in Hardin Valley. However, there are four hundred high school students currently living within a mile of several sites located off McFee/Choto Road areas. There are also several proposed subdivisions in the deep west Knox County area as opposed to scattered building in the Hardin Valley area.

The significance of this is that if the high school was built in the McFee/Choto Road area, one thousand students could be zoned immediately from Farragut High School and approximately half of them would be in the parental responsibility zone, which translates into no transportation costs for these students. Whenever people say that this high school can not just bring relief to Farragut; the response of some is that some students who are currently attending Bearden could be rezoned to Farragut, but if Farragut’s population is reduced to 1,400 students it will be within the School Board’s desired size for high schools in Knox County. Several years ago the School Board declared that high schools, for maximum efficiency and student opportunity, should be between 1,200 and 1,500. Today, the only high schools that are above 1,500 are Bearden, Karns and Farragut.

The School Board should take the option on the land in Hardin Valley for the future. When the Orange Route goes through, there will be an explosion of growth in Hardin Valley. We need to be prepared to build a new high school in that area when it is needed, ten years from now. The need to build a new high school in deep West Knox County is now. Mayor (Mike) Ragsdale continually says that the people that he has talked to do not want to be bused to a new high school. That is because it is always couched as the high school is in Hardin Valley. Ask the question to the 400 potential homeowners who will be building on the McFee Farm development, only tell them that the new high school will be less than a mile away and see what the answer will be. Ask the residents of Montgomery Cove, Walnut Grove, Heron’s Point and Choto Fields if they would like to go to a new high school within a mile of their homes and see what the answer is.

If we want to promote the concept of a new high school we must remember that location is the most important factor. A high school built in the McFee/Choto area for 1,500 students will soon be at capacity due to the rapid growth in the area. Be smart; build the school where the students are, and build it now.


Diane Jablonski



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