As Historic Knoxville High School undergoes a transformation into an independent living facility, a salute to veterans is also taking shape.
Developer Rick Dover released details Wednesday about a new memorial featuring the Charters of Freedom to pair with the preserved Doughboy Statue at the old school.
He teamed up with Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and Commissioner Jeff Ownby to make it happen.
"Behind the statue of the Doughboy and the obelisk, it will include Articles of Freedom, which are the Constitution, Bill of Rights and so forth, will be put on permanent display here," Dover said. "Hopefully with some additional parking and more pedestrian activity here will really activate this park as an honorarium for our veterans."
Dover is leading the Knoxville High restoration project, creating a 90-room apartment facility with a $12.5 million price tag for seniors. But he said this additional memorial wouldn't cost tax payers a dime since it will be privately funded.
He did not say how much money the memorial will receive in donations for construction.
"We’ve worked closely with the city," he said. "We’re establishing protective covenants and a perpetual easement in favor of the city so this monument and the statue and this park, if you will, will be here forever.”
While the additional monument is a benefit to historians, Knox Heritage Executive Director Kim Trent said preserving the original Doughboy Statue, honoring World War I veterans, was most important.
“It was erected after World War I because so many graduates of Knoxville High School lost their lives during World War I," Trent said. "It holds a special place in their hearts as well."
She said Knox Heritage expects the transition of the historical building to an independent living facility to be well-received.
“We think it’s a brilliant use," she said. "With the existing use of the classrooms, it lends itself perfectly to that, so you don’t have to do a lot of alterations, and then the great part is, the people who were in the age bracket who went to school here are now in the age bracket to come back and live here.”
Dover said the new development will have a large amount of amenities for seniors looking to live downtown.
"There’ll be a piano bar. There’ll be rooftop gardens. There will be a full fitness wellness center," he said. "We’ll have a full-time activity director, car service for everybody as well as they’ll be able to have their own cars."
That will also include housekeeping, laundry, and a salon and spa, together in a facility resembling the original structure.
“We’ve put everything back in the original footprint, so we’ve cut no new doorways," Dover said. "We’ve closed no doorways. We’ve basically taken each apartment and made it a new apartment out of each existing classroom.”
He said the new memorial, along with the finished Knoxville High independent living facility, are set to be completed by the end of this year.