Hardin Valley gets a middle school

Sandra ClarkFeature, West Knox

It’s real, it’s here and Hardin Valley Middle School principal Cory Smith is not waiting for the start of the school year to get parents and students excited.

Residents joined various politicians and community leaders Tuesday for the official ribbon cutting for the new school. Built for about $35 million by Denark Construction, the school will accommodate some 850 students in grades 6-8 with the capacity to grow to 1,200. It was designed by BarberMcMurry Architects Inc.

With Aug. 8 the first day (1/2 day) for students, Smith has set a sixth-grade parent night Thursday, Aug. 2; seventh-grade parent night Monday, Aug. 6; and eight-grade parent night Tuesday, Aug. 7. All are from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Additionally, sixth grade orientation will be 8:30 a.m. until noon Tuesday, Aug. 7.

The school zone includes all of the Hardin Valley Elementary zone plus a portion of the Ball Camp zone, previously zoned to Karns, and the old Farragut Middle School zone. Officials estimate those three schools will open with roughly 750-800 at HVMS, 900 at Karns and 1,300 at Farragut.

Cory Smith was previously principal at Rocky Hill Elementary School. His bachelor’s degree is in special education and his master’s is in educational leadership – both from the University of Maine. He also holds a doctorate.

A familiar name is at the helm of the new school’s Parent-Teacher Organization. Maggie Connatser, whose son is in the sixth grade, is president of the organization. She was at the ribbon-cutting, recruiting volunteers for various committees. Info is available at rmconnatser@hotmail.com. Beth Souders is PTO volunteer coordinator. Reach her at bethsouders@gmail.com.

The new school is located at 2280 Steele Road, behind Hardin Valley Elementary School. Info: 865-594-1800.

Dance team members get a first look at their new gym – Home of the Hawks.

Classrooms are equipped with modular seating for 30.

Two very happy public officials represent the Hardin Valley area: Brad Anders on Knox County Commission and Terry Hill on the Board of Education.

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