KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Knox County leaders and students gathered on Monday for the ribbon-cutting of the new Lonsdale Elementary School.
The new school is 94,400 square feet and features 36 classrooms, four teacher work areas, two special education classroom suites, a 7,100-square-foot gym, a music room, an art room, a library and a storm shelter that will house approximately 935 people. The school will have the capacity for approximately 800 students.
This school is also the new school for Pre-K through first-grade students from Sam E. Hill Primary School.
The building will also house a 2,000-square-foot recreation center and office space for the City of Knoxville’s Parks and Recreation Department.
"This building gives us a lot more staff planning spaces, a new state-of-the-art library, and a multimedia center," said Jon Rysewyk, Superintendent for Knox County Schools.
In October 2019, the Knox County Board of Education approved a Memorandum of Understanding to transfer the Lonsdale Park property from the City of Knoxville to Knox County, to build this new school.
For parents like Angel Bowman, the opening of a new building for Lonsdale Elementary school is an example of how hard work pays off.
"it is my job to advocate for my children," said Bowman.
Bowman has one child who attends Lonsdale Elementary, one who will be in kindergarten this fall, and three others who graduated many years ago.
She said she and other parents in the community worked closely with the school board to get a new building. In the old school, there were repairs here and there, but that was not enough.
"For years, it was just patchwork after patchwork, let's just paint over the problem," said Bowman.
Back in 2018, Lonsdale elementary school had a high carbon monoxide reading.
Bowman's child along with hundreds of others had to evacuate.
"It was a no-brainer that I would sound the alarm for my children and the other 600 children who attend this school," she said.
Fast forward a few years later...Bowman's kids and others in the Lonsdale community will enter a new building on august 5, the first day of school for this fall.
85% of the building is complete and available to use, while the remaining portion is scheduled for completion by September 4. Demolition of the old Lonsdale Elementary School is scheduled to begin in August, and the target competition date is October 15.