Knox County school board chair Patti Bounds called on the Halls community to come together for Adrian Burnett Elementary School.
Bounds was the keynote speaker at the Halls Business and Professional Association meeting July 17. Knox TN Today has written about structural problems at ABES before. The 40-year-old school was built to be “temporary,” and has been passed over in favor of other school building projects since 2006. This spring, representatives from the HBPA board toured the school to see for themselves.
Bounds spoke about the school’s history, then gave the group a rundown of the school’s structural problems, which are outlined in the stories linked above. But first, she praised the school’s faculty, administration and staff.
“They never complain,” she said. “They make the best with what they have and give it their all every day.”
Bounds, who represents the seventh district, said she and Knox County Commissioner Charles Busler have been advocating for a new or renovated ABES “for at least the last four years,” and other supportive voices on County Commission like Michele Carringer could help make improvements happen there.
But first, the community needs to voice support for the project. One of the problems, said Bounds, is that ABES is a small school, and parents are mostly working hard to make ends meet, so they don’t have the time to create a lobbying campaign.
“Even if every parent lobbied, it’s not enough,” said Bounds. “It’s going to take a community to do this. Advocate, call, email, write or meet with commissioners and the mayor. It can be done. It needs to be done for some of our most vulnerable children.”
She pointed to recent ribbon cuttings at new middle schools in Hardin Valley and Gibbs.
“Both of those communities worked together in a respectful manner to make that happen,” Bounds said.
However, overcrowding and portable classrooms are not just a problem at ABES, but all across North Knox County.
“Our district has more portable classrooms than any district in Knox County,” Bounds said, estimating 37 portable classrooms in the seventh district.
“We’ve got great schools in the Halls community, but I would argue that this school (ABES) is not very safe,” she said. “Adrian Burnett has got a great leadership team, great staff. We just need to make this happen for the kids.”
HBPA board member Bob Crye called on everyone to contact their elected officials and any candidates they support to express support for a new ABES.
Featured Business: Beaver Brook Country Club
Jerry Key, president of Beaver Brook Country Club, spoke during the business spotlight portion of the meeting. He said the club offers a variety of memberships for different interests and family situations. Amenities include an Olympic-size pool, tennis, golf and many social opportunities.
He highlighted two membership styles. The Junior Student membership program is for those in middle school, high school or college who want to participate in the Beaver Brook golf teams.
“We have been fortunate these last few years,” said Key, adding that several from the Beaver Brook teams have gone on to play golf at Power 5 schools.
Corporate memberships are also available and can be tailored to the needs of the member business.
“I do appreciate the opportunity to see some old friends,” Key said in closing. “It’s a great community out here, and I enjoy it very much.”