Greenback residents excited about new pre-K-12 school


The Greenback community is preparing to turn the page on a significant chapter of its history, as a new pre-K-12 school is expected to open in January.

“Schools represent communities, as a whole,” said grandmother Terri Johnson. “You can’t take this school out of our community, because we’d fold up. It is all of us.

“A new school represents new life for us,” she said. “I can’t thank the (Loudon County) school board and (Loudon) County Commission enough. They’ve given us a new source of pride and given us a greater opportunity for success.”

“We’re expecting great things,” said parent Kelly Buller. “They’re going to transplant a nurturing, successful school culture from the old school to a brand new, state-of-the-art school.”

“Greenback School is going to rise like a phoenix out of the ashes,” said Phil Moffett, who represents Greenback on the Loudon County Board of Education.

Students, such as senior Donovan Folkner, agree with Moffett. “Education is different in Greenback. Everyone wants to see you succeed. People have your back, because ‘Greenback simply loves.’ As a student, it motivates me to know that generations of Greenback residents are behind me.”

“I don’t know one parent who wouldn’t do anything for these kids,” said parent DaLynn Lawson. “Our kids follow the same example. The older ones help the younger ones. They take care of each other. It speaks to who we are and what we are in Greenback. We’re a family.”

Build new memories

A group of parents and students recently toured the new school. They were overwhelmed by the facilities, whether it was the ordinary (new lockers) or the extraordinary (science labs with fume hoods and halo safety showers).

One word, “wow!” was repeated throughout the tour. Emotions started to rise as the tour progressed.

Parents cried as they saw the well-lit elementary schools and 2,963-square-foot media center. They wiped away tears as Principal Mike Casteel explained its new features.

“Our school is a new beginning to a new era,” said freshman Skyler Little. “It’s a big step up, and I’ve got goose bumps just thinking about it.”

“I’m excited to build new memories here,” said eighth-grader Riley Guillemet. “We’ve made a lot of memories over here. We’re going to build so many more over here.”

Many students, such as senior Jacob Morton, are excited about the new technology. “We’re going to achieve more as a result of it.”

The new Greenback School will have interactive whiteboards, mobile iPad labs, two science labs and 100 percent wireless Internet saturation, Casteel said.

“We’re going to provide educational experiences that we never had the facilities to support. Our students will reap great academic results because of it.”

Retaining traditions

The new Greenback School is 145,300 square feet and located on a 27.9-acre site adjacent to the current school. The pre-K-12 school has a core capacity of 900 students.

In comparison, the current building is 78,440 square feet and located on a 15.5-acre site. The existing school’s basic structure was built in 1939, and additions were completed in 1950, 1960, 1977, 1989, 1998 and 2000.

School officials plan to pay tribute to the old school and retain current traditions, Casteel said. They’ve discussed placing community artifacts and photos in a hallway that will run from the rotunda toward the cafeteria and gym.