Updated: Jan 16
By Andrew Goodman
Renovations are in the works for Morristown-Hamblen High School West. Hopefully breaking ground in Summer 2020, this multi-million dollar renovation will bring a massive 5,000 square foot expansion to the cafeteria, upgrades to many aspects of the school such as plumbing, a new administrative wing at the front, and student bathroom upgrades.
The cafeteria expansion will allow for the amount of lunch periods to be reduced to three instead of four. Assistant Principal Tim Landefeld stated in an interview that this will allow for 45 minute TNN's and possibly what he calls "Fun Units Of Learning" where a student could learn both academic and non-academic skills. Students are also excited for the expanded cafeteria. Senior Baylee Stroud stated that "... An expanded cafeteria is a good thing..." and she likes what has already been done to the school.
When it comes to the main section of the building, there will not be a major redesign but upgrades to electrical, plumbing, student bathrooms, and HVAC systems should be expected.
In addition to the expanded cafeteria, there will be a new administrative wing at the front of the school which will house the principals, bookkeepers, and school resource officers, along with other administrative staff. There will also be a new conference room located in the new wing. This new wing will also provide added security by requiring that anyone wishing to enter the school must go through multiple doors which the school resource officer will be monitoring from the office. While the design documents have not been made public yet, Landefeld says that the design "will be similar" to the freshman academy that was completed in 2015 although it will be matched with the existing front wing of the building. When it comes to the current office, officials are still deciding on what to do although no new classrooms are expected.
Although these renovations are exciting, some concerns have been raised as to how it will affect normal operations during construction. One concern is parking and the front circle. Landefeld says that the circle will be open as much as possible although it may be closed at some points during the school year. When it comes to parking, officials are still looking at different options. While some construction may be occurring during the school year, Dr. Jeff Perry told the Citizen Tribune that "'The major work will be done in the summer.'"
The design plans are currently with the state fire marshal and once they are approved, a bid will take place. Landefeld is hopeful that the project will break ground in summer 2020.