• Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share via Email
South High Update: Mayor, Council Help Install Drywall 
Two years after announcing plans to transform South High into assisted living and memory care for seniors, Dover Development invited Mayor Madeline Rogero, City staff, elected officials and South Knoxville neighbors to visit the 82-year-old school to see the structural improvements and updates completed so far. 

South High entrance

South High rendering

South High closed in 1991 and remained empty and unused by Knox County until the summer of 2008, when potential developers purchased it at auction. Multiple ideas and proposals for the property fell through as the building suffered damage from vandalism and roof leaks.

Over the next several years--and after many codes violations and liens on the property--City Council members voted to apply for an H-1 overlay on the property, and the Better Building Board certified South High as a blighted property. In April 2015, the City used Chronic Problem Property acquisition funds to purchase the property and reimburse the City for the taxes and lien. The Community Development department then put out an RFP (Request for Proposals) to developers with plans to bring the historic building back into use. 

"We knew there was a lot of life left in this building," Mayor Rogero said. 

South High elected officials

City Council members Marshall Stair, Lauren Rider, Vice Mayor Finbarr Saunders and Andrew Roberto joined Mayor Madeline Rogero, Rick Dover, County Commissioner Carson Dailey, and 1st District Council representative Stephanie Welch in the former gym of South High School. 

Mayor Rogero Rick Dover

Mayor Rogero recalled seeing the state of the South High structure in 2017 and asking Rick Dover if he was sure about taking on the long-empty and neglected building. 

Dover thanked the Mayor and her administration, including Community Development Director Becky Wade, for "stepping in and making sure South didn't end up on the ground." He tells the group that he anticipates South High being "the most beautiful building we've ever done." 

The $12.1 million project will result in 62 apartments and create 31 full-time jobs. Dover said the work should be completed in about six months and open for residents in February 2020. 

Mayor nails it

Mayor leaves mark

Dover invited guests to "have a hand in preserving South High" by helping nail up drywall and leave messages that will live forever under the final coats of paint. 

South High progress

Posted by ptravis On 10 July, 2019 at 1:08 PM