Fri
May 12 2006
02:10 pm

The School Board and City Council have hired a project manager to help facilitate expansion plans for Maryville High School.  They plan to expand Maryville High School, a facility that will allow for 2000 students (current population of MHS is 1497). Superintendent Dalton has informed me that they have not officially decided to expand at the current location.  Which leaves me confused. If they have not made the decision to expand, then why has this been the only option explored by the school board and faculty? Why haven’t they explored other options?
    We are paying Lawler-Wood project manager, Barry Brooke, Vice President of Commercial Development, $175,000 his specialty is commercial development. Here is a direct quote of Lawler Woods qualifications off their website "Commercial development is the core business of Lawler-Wood. We incorporate a flexible approach to design and construction with extraordinary project management skills and creative problem solving.   Our commitment to quality and attention to detail have helped us excel at traditional commercial developments and specialized projects such as resort hotels, golf courses, sports complexes and hospitals."   
I see nothing about community planning for public school facilities. I would have hoped they (city council and school board) might have considered a project manager that specializes in community planning, with a possible background in public education. Lawler-Wood was also hired for the Maryville City Municipal building, Blount Memorial Hospital, and new civic arts center.
I have heard many arguments regarding to Maryville High School. I do understand that it is a very delicate subject for many. Some people feel that two high schools may divide the community. Actually research has proven that smaller neighborhood schools are anchors for the community. According to an article on the U.S. Department of Education website, “In small schools, students tend to be more satisfied, more academically productive, more likely to participate in school activities, better behaved, and less likely to drop out than students in large schools.” Some people feel that we have a strong sports program and we don’t want to divide the football team. My question is why are we making decisions to accommodate a football team of 150 students, instead of a strong educational program, that gives more children equal opportunity?
My family moved to Maryville from Colorado nearly six years ago. My children were zoned for Columbine High School, which had a population of 2000 students. Like many other transplants we choose Maryville because of the school system and the excellent quality of life that Maryville provides for my family. I love Maryville and there is no doubt in my mind that my children are in top quality schools. But I question the actions of the school board as well as city council that are making these vital decisions that affect each and every one of us.
I would like to see more community involvement when it comes to these decisions. I don’t want my child to attend a high school of 2000 students. I also don’t want the integrity of our historic neighborhoods to be compromised due to a large high school. MHS is currently on 7 acres. Many states require state minimum acreage standards, requiring at least 30 usable acres. Why are we trying to crunch such a large facility to accommodate so many students on a small parcel of land?
MHS is holding a meeting to educate all of us about the future plans of Maryville High School on May 17 at 6:30 pm in the Commons at MHS. Please come and let your voice be heard. Maybe you agree with the future plans, maybe you don’t.  Come and voice your opinion.

bizgrrl's picture

I agree with most of your

I agree with most of your post. I agree they need a planner experienced with schools. I heartily agree they don't need a huge (2,000 student) school. I think we can stay away from the acreage requirements, many great city schools don't have lots of land. A hard fight will be the "sports" issue. I think the people with the, "Some people feel that we have a strong sports program and we don’t want to divide the football team.," sentiment don't care about education. That is the problem. Tennessee is not known for caring about education. Try to come up with a good alternative, e.g. won't this be a great opportunity for two great sports schools in Maryville.

Oh, by the way, don't know if it has anything to do with Lawler-Wood, but the City of Maryville had a problem during the construction of the new municipal building.

Flower71's picture

Thanks for the comment!

Thanks for the comment!  You are right about having two high schools with two great sports programs! It's a valid point that I feel the school board and the city should take into consideration.

 

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