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Knox Christian opens new high school building

Knoxville Christian School’s new 14,800-square-foot high school building, the first physical expansion in the school’s 30-year history, will have historical significance for the school’s three seniors.

“Being the first graduating class [to use the new building], it means a lot. We’re going to be the first ones to go up on the wall, everybody’s going to see we were the first class,” KCS senior Hunter White said about the Class of 2010’s distinction among class pictures eventually lining the building’s concourse walls.

Hunter, 17, and fellow seniors Jessica Driggers and Tia King were among 35 high school students to occupy the new facility, located roughly 100 yards down the hill from the main school, for the first time Wednesday, April 7.

“There’s tons of room compared to the old building,” White said. “We don’t have the little kids running around. It’s just a higher tech building.”

Matt Amos, school president, listed the building’s main features as “a state-of-the art chem[istry] lab, library, a multi-purpose room, administrative offices and five classrooms.”

Cost is “just over $2 million,” he added, and took about one year from groundbreaking to completion at the campus off Snyder Road in Farragut.

Originally set for completion last October according to Amos, “Given the delays, we want to make sure that our graduating senior class would experience the new building and they would be the first class in it,” he added.

Tammy Bragwell, in her 12th year at KCS now teaching ninth-, 10th- and 11th-grade English along with 12th-grade thesis, said the student body “has been anticipating this for a long time.”

“I know I appreciate it, I haven’t had a full-sized classroom in a long time,” she added.

Janel Deaver, a first-year KCS high school teacher — Spanish I and II, senior English, algebra and yearbook — said the students “have been looking forward to it for quite a while, they’re all real excited. The administration’s excited.”

About the need to expand at the kindergarten through 12-grade school of 160 total students, 20 teachers and 28 administrators, Amos said, “There’ll be more than” 35 high school students “next school year,” adding total enrollment grew 65 percent this school year versus 2008-09.

“We’re really happy with how things are going and where we are,” Amos added about school growth.

The next phases “are athletic fields and a gymnasium that will be adjacent to the new building,” Amos said, adding, “We’re in the fund-raising process for that. We already have the football field graded. We’re hoping to be able to play home games this fall.

“We did add middle school football last year, and then we’ll be adding high school football this fall,” Amos added. “We have blueprints for the gymnasium, along with the football field and baseball fields.”

The gymnasium, with an estimated cost of “over $2 million” according to Amos, would include “an NBA-sized court, it will have coaches’ offices, a training facility, a weight room” and concourse trophy cases.

Seating capacity is yet to be determined. Construction would not begin “until we have a significant amount of the funds raised for it,” Amos said.

The KCS baseball/softball complex with “multiple fields” will include a pressbox and permanent restrooms, Amos said, adding he did not know the cost of these or the football complex.

After the athletics phase, “Then we’ll build a middle school building, and then we’ll have three buildings for ... elementary, middle and high school,” Amos said, adding “I’d like to have that done in five years. It’s on our master plan.”

Saying KCS sits on 67 acres, Amos added the long-range master plan “calls for a retirement home, it calls for even a college. We realize that’s going to be a while yet ... in the distant future.”


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