Unicoi County Board of Education to consider Love Chapel site bid

Brad Hicks • Apr 20, 2013 at 8:43 PM

ERWIN — The next step in the relocation of Love Chapel Elementary School could take place Monday when the Unicoi County Board of Education will meet to consider approval of a bid for site work necessary for the move.

The called meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at the Unicoi County Schools Central Office.

This site is to be completed on school system-owned property next to Unicoi County Intermediate School. On March 14, one month after voting to permanently close Love Chapel, the school board voted to approve a relocation plan for the school that involves the purchase of a dozen modular units that will be placed on property behind the Intermediate School.

Unicoi County Director of Schools Denise Brown previously said these units will provide the space for 24 classrooms, and separate units will serve as Love Chapel’s administrative offices, library, computer lab space and a dining area.

Before the units are installed, site work on the grounds needs to be completed, Brown said. She also said bids for both the site work and the units have been let, and the modular bid responses should arrive a week to two weeks after the site work responses come in.

A sinkhole was discovered on the grounds of Love Chapel on Aug. 18, prompting the cancellation of classes there the following week. On Aug. 27, the school system implemented a temporarily relocation plan that will remain in effect through the end of this school year. This plan saw Love Chapel students relocated to available space inside the Intermediate School and Unicoi County Middle School.

While Brown said Love Chapel’s staff and students have made this short-term plan work, a longer-term plan was needed.

“We have speech and music and classes on the stage and in every little corner we can,” she said previously. “You’ve got the secretaries sitting there at the door. It’s not a viable situation to continue in. It’s worked for this year.”

In February, the school board voted to permanently close Love Chapel after an engineering firm’s report indicated several areas of the school property showed signs of sinkhole activity or the possibility of developing sinkhole activity.

School officials have previously said they hope to have the modular classrooms in place by the end of July, in time for the start of the 2013-14 school year in August.

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