Bring It Together, sponsored by Suntrust Bank and the Community Foundation, is a renovation project for Normal Park Museum Magnet School that is literally bringing together hundreds of community volunteers from across the city, officials said.
They will spend one week to make over the Chattanooga Middle School building, which will be the upper school for Normal Park Museum Magnet in the fall.
The official kick-off for the project was today, and it gave teams a chance to survey their spaces and start making their plans.
“While on a tour of Normal Park several weeks back, I learned that no funds would be available from the county for rescuing the dilapidated Chattanooga Middle School facility, so I had this idea,” said Josh McManus, project coordinator. “I thought, what if money isn't really the answer? †What if we already have everything we need amongst us to bring that old building back to its original grandeur and possibly go beyond? And that’s exactly what Bring It Together is all about.”
On June 23 at 8 a.m., more than 25 teams of volunteers will meet at the 78-year-old building on the corner of Dallas and Mississippi Avenue and spend the next six days painting walls, building shelves, refurbishing floors and creating an exciting and inviting space for the students who will be attending in the fall. The culmination will be a community open house on Sunday, June 29.
“What made this project particularly appealing to us is that the parents and community are taking charge and making these improvements – we are helping people help themselves, and that is very exciting to us,” said Mike Butler, president and CEO of Suntrust Bank.
In December 2007, the Hamilton County School Board unanimously passed an expansion plan that would grow Normal Park Museum Magnet from Pre-K to 5th, to a Pre-K to 8th program. That included creating a two-campus scenario that would use the current Normal Park school as the lower campus, and the current Chattanooga Middle School as the upper campus.
“We want this building to reflect the dynamic and creative nature of the instruction and we want our students to be inspired and motivated by each space in the school,” said Jill Levine, principal of Normal Park Museum Magnet. “The moment these kids walk in the building they will know this is a special place, and that people care about them and the environment around them.”
Ms. Levine added that next year the upper school building will house the 6th to 8th grades, but in future years it will be 4th through 8th. She expects the Normal Park student body to double in size over next three years, and noted that there is already a waiting list for next year’s 6th grade class.
Currently, more than 30 builders and designers are signed on for this project. Builders include The Strauss Company, Sexton Construction, HGH Construction, Blaine Construction, Collier Construction, Humphrey’s & Associates, Kuebler Builders, Inc., The Counts Co., Blue Hammer, Eastman Construction, Hudson Companies, Inc., Eady Construction, SKH Construction, P&C Construction, Dimensions Design, and EMJ Corporation.
Designers include Franklin & Associates, Artech Design Group, Kevin Vaughn, Elemi, Ann Weeks, Interior Environments, Brooke Bradley-King, Ivan Allen Workspace, Derthlick, Henley & Wilkerson Architects, Sean Thompson, Yessick’s, May May McGuire, Heather Adams, Katie Pratt, and Nena Locascio.
Additionally, many area businesses and civic groups are adopting spaces or providing volunteers for the week, including the North Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce, Hunt Nissan, the Blister Sisters, Northshore Fellowship, and students from the UTC School of Design.
“I am truly overwhelmed by the generosity of the Chattanooga community,” said Ms. Levine. “People are really stepping up and proving that they care about our public schools and care about the future of our children. It is really the most amazing gift any school administrator could hope for.”
For volunteer or sponsorship information on Bring It Together, contact Susan Taylor at 290-5912, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
See the Chattanooga.com article