Lenoir City Board of Education approved Thursday the purchase of the United Community Bank building on Broadway Street to serve as an administrative center and free up classroom space at the district’s three schools.
The school board is expected to purchase the three-story, 21,000-square-foot building for $400,000.
“We can focus on what teachers need,” she said. “This will allow for professional development within a dedicated space for teachers, not only during the school year but also during the summer. We will be able to get our operational offices out of the schools, helping in freeing up space for instructional reasons.”
Barker said she hopes to offer some family classes in the building.
“We look forward to that being a hub of activity,” Barker said about revitalization efforts in downtown Lenoir City.
Rick Chadwick, board chairman, said the idea has been on a wish list for some time.
“We are totally out of room,” Chadwick said. “This has been on our project calendar. Yes, we paid $400,000 for the building, but we saved between $3-4 million by not having to build a new facility. Everything is still preliminary. An architectural firm looked at the roofing and elevators, and it was found to be a sound building. I’m so happy we’re going to be downtown. City government will still have a presence downtown.”
Brian McDonald, president of the architectural firm Weeks, Ambrose & McDonald, said his company spent a couple of days inspecting the building.
“It’s a sound building,” McDonald said. “It is over 30 years old, but it appears to be in good shape for what they want to do with it.”
Board member Glenn McNish Sr. said he supports the decision.
“We were almost to the point of seeing mobile homes outside the school building,” McNish said. “This will help us greatly improve the landscapes of our school and school system.”