The shelves and walls are bare, but the new Gibbs Middle School is full of great expectations and community support. As teachers, staff, soon-to-be students and their families all gathered for a formal ribbon cutting and tours of the school July 10, the excitement was palpable.
Speakers included Knox Schools superintendent Bob Thomas, school board member Mike McMillan, county commissioner Dave Wright, mayor Tim Burchett, and of course new Gibbs Middle School principal Cindy White. There were thanks all around, to the Gibbs community; to parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles who advocated for the school; to Chris Caldwell of Knox County’s finance department; to Rouse Construction and McCarty Holsaple McCarty; to folks in Knox County’s procurement staff, engineering and public works department; school board and county commission and many more.
Thomas opened the gathering, saying, “I know there are people in the community who have waited a long time for this.”
Others echoed his sentiment. Wright said he parked at Gibbs Elementary and walked to the middle school in two minutes. “For the community a great shortcut of 45 minutes is just a two-minute walk,” he said, referring to the long drive for students from Gibbs to Holston Middle School, to which the community was formerly zoned.
White took the podium with enthusiasm.
“For everyone, welcome to Gibbs Middle School,” she said. “There’s been such an excitement in the community. Let’s celebrate the learning and the relationships that will come to life in this beautiful community. Their school is your school.”
Burchett placed all the credit for the new school on others’ shoulders.
“I stumble over from the one-yard line, but some of you all have carried it from 99 yards,” he said. “There is a vibrant area of Knox County, and it is right here. This school will be a great addition.”