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Lots of Ideas Shared During Public Meeting on Redeveloping South High Building 

Community Development Director Becky Wade answers questions and hears ideas from South Knoxvillians about possible reuses of the South High building.

More than 40 South Knoxvillians shared their thoughts Thursday evening about how they'd like the City to manage the redevelopment of the South High School building, 953 E. Moody Ave.

Community Development Director Becky Wade and staff listened to residents and detailed the public process being followed in developing a Request For Proposals and eventually selling the building to a private redeveloper. Thursday's forum was held at Dogwood Elementary School, 705 Tipton Ave.

Knoxville City Council in February authorized the purchase of the blighted former South High School for about $190,000. The City’s Community Development Department will be reselling the iconic structure through an RFP process to an owner who will renovate it and bring it back into reuse.

City officials are gathering input from citizens on what they think is the best use for the historic school building, designed by noted local architect Charles Barber and built in 1935-1936. The school opened in 1937, and the last class graduated in 1976.

Over the following decades, the building sustained serious roof damage and water damage. It was sold by Knox County at auction in 2008, but the buyer was unable to redevelop the building. City crews performed $30,000 in emergency repairs and billed the owner - the first time the Demolition by Neglect tool had been used.

“The building has a high sentimental and historic value in the community,” Wade said prior to Thursday's meeting. “It’s also a beautiful building with huge potential for redevelopment. It’s strategically located in the heart of South Knoxville. Our aim is to see how the community wants this building to be used and, in the context of the current market, manage its redevelopment so that it can once again be a South Knoxville asset.”

Once input is evaluated and parameters for reuse of the building are in place, the City will seek proposals from redevelopers later this year.

City Council members Marshall Stair, George Wallace and Finbarr Saunders also spoke with residents and potential redevelopers at Thursday's meeting.

If you couldn't attend, Wade still wants to hear your ideas for the South High building's reuse. Email her at bwade@knoxvilletn.gov.

South Knoxvillians discuss options for reuse of South High School.

City staff recording lots of ideas from residents.

Posted by evreeland On 24 July, 2015 at 12:38 PM