KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Box by box, department by department, Knox County Schools is moving from its Gay Street headquarters to a new home in the TVA East Tower north of Market Square.
Russ Oaks, chief operating officer of the 60,000-student school system, said the plan is to complete the move in mid November.
"It's important to understand that this is not just new space for us," Oaks said, standing outside the 12-floor building Wednesday. "This is space that will help us be a better organization and will help us be more efficient in what we do."
Movers started about two weeks ago. They were busy Wednesday morning, bringing boxes out of the Andrew Johnson Building, where KCS has had its central office for decades, loading them up and then heading the short journey north up Gay.
The move so far is going well, Oaks said. The goal is to move departments as much as possible at one time so group members aren't trying to work in two locations at the same time.
"That seems to be working pretty well, and folks seem to be pretty satisfied with the process," he said.
After working for years spread across 16 floors, Oaks said KCS will now enjoy a more compact six floors at the TVA Tower. Everyone will be in closer proximity, which will help improve collaboration and coordination and help people be more efficient and effective at their jobs.
The University of Tennessee System plans to occupy the top six floors of the building. The move will come later.
Some other KCS operations that are not in the AJ Building now can join the central office in the new headquarters, Oaks said. KCS also is combining separate dispatch operations for security and transportation.
Knox County has a long-term lease for the East Tower. It also bought the Summer Place 700-space garage and office tower nearby from TVA.
The school board will hold its meetings in the Summer Place office space, Oaks said. That'll alleviate the public having to face the extra security employed at the TVA towers entrances.
Oaks said he doubted that space would be ready for use by the board until after the first of the year.
Knox County is selling the AJ Building to a developer, a move that will put it back on the tax rolls.