The Red Bank City Commission has unanimously passed a resolution to inform the Hamilton County school board and Hamilton County Commission of the city's position on the recently announced school facilities working group recommendations.
Red Bank Vice Mayor Stefanie Dalton and City Commissioner Jamie Fairbanks-Harvey are co-chairs of a committee that formed in response to the county's school facilities working group recommendations.
Among those recommendations is the closure of three of four aging elementary schools – Alpine Crest, Rivermont, DuPont and Hixson — and consolidating those students into a new school at the site of DuPont Elementary in "the heart of Hixson," according to recommendations.
If Alpine Crest is closed and students from it and other small elementary schools are consolidated into one larger school, the city of Red Bank proposes that the former White Oak Elementary/Dawn School property — which is within Red Bank city limits on Altamont Road — be considered as a potential location for a new elementary school, Fairbanks-Harvey said at the City Commission meeting.
Dawn School closed two years ago, and the property — owned by Hamilton County Schools — is no longer in use.
"Alpine Crest Elementary is the last elementary school that resides within our city limits," Dalton said at the meeting, adding that many people in the general public believe Red Bank Elementary is in Red Bank when it is not. The school is on Mountain Creek Road in Chattanooga. "I attended a facilities committee meeting last week, and some school board members didn't even know that."
Elementary school students within the city of Red Bank are zoned for either Alpine Crest, Rivermont or Red Bank.
The city's proposal aims to keep an elementary school within Red Bank city limits and within the bounds of Hamilton County's District 6, in order to retain its representation on the Hamilton County Commission and school board, the resolution states.
It would also allow the city's elementary school students to matriculate as a cohort into Red Bank Middle and High schools, the resolution said.
The resolution also states that if Alpine Crest is closed, the city wants to keep the Alpine Crest property for public use.
The community already uses the space as a park and a pedestrian connector between Ravenwood Drive and Alpine Crest, City Manager Martin Granum said, when asked by a citizen to elaborate on the city's intended use of the Alpine Crest property if the school closes.
"What the intent is there is to preserve it as a park and potentially enhance it and develop it along those lines," Granum said.
One of the main goals of the county's facilities effort is to reduce the number of schools, thereby reducing maintenance costs that have piled up into a large unfunded backlog.