The plan calls for more than 100 units and creates 18 new jobs
Officials hope to convert Knoxville High School into housing for seniors with a proposal that calls for 109 residential units, creates 18 new jobs, and generates almost $480,000 in annual payroll, the Knox County Mayor's Office announced Monday.
The plan will go before the Knox County Commission later this month for more discussion.
In the meantime, officials say Family Pride Corporation and Southeastern Housing Foundation, which won the recent bid to renovate and preserve the old school, plan to purchase the building for $500,000 and spend another $13.7 million on its redevelopment.
The operation will service residents 62 years and older and tenants will have access to a number of services and amenities, including on-site staff and on-call nurses, daily exercise and wellness programs, meals and snacks, laundry service, building maintenance and a full-time activities director.
In addition to preserving the building, developers also plan to leave the iconic WWI doughboy statue standing guard in front of the school.
"Historic Knoxville High fits beautifully into our mission of preserving historic buildings, and providing senior living services of the highest quality at reasonable costs," said Family Pride Corporation General Manager Rick Dover in a released statement. "We are grateful and excited about the opportunity at Knoxville High."
Southeastern Housing Foundation's Chris Martin agreed.
"Southeastern Housing Foundation has a strong track record of serving people in the community well, and this partnership is another big step in that direction," he said. "We believe this proposal will provide a legacy for this historic property that all generations – past, present and future – can be proud of."
The old school, located on E. Fifth Avenue, opened in 1910 and closed in 1951. It's listed on the National Register of Historical Places.
"There is a lot of Knoxville history wrapped up in this school, and it looks like we're going to be able to preserve it," said Knox County Mayor Burchett.