Hardin Valley parents say other local schools have too many students.
Parents in a quickly-growing East Tennessee community are calling on Knox County Schools to build a new middle school in their area.
According to the Knoxville - Knox County Metropolitan Planning Commission, between the years 2000 and 2009, the highest percentage of building permits issued were in the northwest part of the county. All of that development has created a bigger population in communities in that area, including Hardin Valley. Now, parents there are asking for a middle school of their own.
"As a group, this entire area is experiencing an overcrowding problem," said local parent of three, Kevin Crateau.
Two of his girls go to Hardin Valley Elementary. They will eventually go to Karns Middle School.
Knox County school board member Thomas Deakins, represents the Hardin Valley area.
Deakins said Karns Elementary is currently overcrowded.
He told WBIR 10News, Knox County may need to build one or two new middle schools in the future.
More Information: Partnership for Education Facilities Assessment
"My goal as a board member will be to try and get some type of, what I'm going to call a, 'middle school solution'," he said.
There are other middle schools near the Hardin Valley area too. They include Farragut Middle School, Cedar Bluff Middle School and Northwest Middle School.
In 2006, Knox County Schools underwent a "Partnership for Education Facilities Assessment". That study calculated "functional capacity" rates for all Knox County Schools.
More Information: Knox County Enrollment Numbers (May 2013)
When compared to Knox County Schools enrollment data from May 2013, the aforementioned schools' capacity rates are as follows:
Functional Capacity // May '13 Enrollment // Capacity Rate
- Karns: 1,306 // 1,317 // 101%
- Farragut: 1,333 // 1,319 // 99%
- Northwest: 732 // 605 // 83 %
- Cedar Bluff: 1,055 // 847 // 80%
Deakins mentioned that Gibbs is another community in search of a middle school.
He said he would like to have a solution put together this spring that could address all middle school needs. Deakins added he would like to see some type of plan presented in the school district's capital 5-year plan.
He said a new middle school can cost, "anywhere from say 20 to 30 million bucks."
When asked if such a measure was financially possible for the district, Deakins responded that it could be if the community and school board named such a building project an important priority for the future.
Facebook Group: Hardin Valley Supports a Middle School
Kevin Crateau, and a number of other local parents, think it is.
"I have a one month-old-child, Logan, who was born November 2, and I'm hoping that at the end of the day, we get something accomplished and he's got a great middle school to go to," Crateau said.
Hardin Valley parents recently took their campaign online. They put together a Facebook group and Twitter account to rally public support.
The group will hold a meeting Monday, January 13 at 6 p.m. at the Hardin Valley Church of God. It says childcare will be provided to those who need it.
The group also plans to speak at the next Knox County Board of Education meeting January 8 at the City County Building. Deakins said he expects to speak about the topic as well.