Decisions, Decisions

Greenback Gymnasium

With the school building program now behind us, the school board and the county commission will have a few other decisions to make in the next year or so. What to do with the old buildings.

In Loudon it's a simple answer. The elementary and old middle school will become a K-5 when the new middle school is completed. In Greenback the answers are not quit as simple.

Back in 2005, the school board had a feasibility study done on the entire Greenback school. The study then found that more than fifty percent of the facility was not suited for remodeling or renovation due to the age of the buildings, architectural problems and environmental issues.

Most board members and commissioners seem to be resigned to abandon most of the old facility after the new school is completed. The one exception is the gymnasium.

The looming decision for all will be whether to keep the gym or to also let it go, probably to demolition. There are good arguments for either option.

 According to the plaque in the lobby, the gym was built in 1960 making it a relatively old facility. The gym has been to source of problems in the past including gas leaks.

On the other side of the coin, a lot of money has been spent on the gym in just the last few years to bring it up to code and keep it functional. There are brand new bleachers, much of the athletic floor has either been replaced or refurbished and structural improvements and repairs have been made.

In addition, the gymnasium also doubles as the field house for the football teams. If the gym is abandoned/demolished, the board would have to build a new field house facility for football. The nature of a field house could make that an expensive construction project. Unlike any other school in the county system, at Greenback there are both high school and middle school sports and activities. If the board were to keep the old gym, it could also be used for middle school basketball and related activities.

The ultimate decision on the future or lack there of of the old buildings legally rests with the county commission. They are the only ones who can make the decision of what to do with the facility. The school board, if it so chose to, can request the commission to allow us to keep the gym so as not to have to build another facility but it's strictly their decision. 

For me, it all comes down to dollars and cents. If it's found that it would be less expensive to build a new facility for a field house, so be it. If it's cheaper to keep and maintain the old gym, that's OK too.

We've got a long time before a decision has to be made so hopefully we can figure out which option is best for all involved.


On another note, we all know about the old school buildings at Greenback. Sometimes I think folks don't really believe it's the truth as just how old parts of the facility are. While I was over there a few days ago, I snapped a picture of one of the many plaques on the walls of the school. Below is that plaque.

How old were you when Roosevelt was president?