The Lewis Group set as architect for LFMS

CHRISTY ARMSTRONG  Banner Staff Writer
Posted 5/12/15

An architect has been chosen to begin work on a new classroom building at Lake Forest Middle School.

During a meeting Monday afternoon, the Bradley County Board of Education voted to have The …

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The Lewis Group set as architect for LFMS

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An architect has been chosen to begin work on a new classroom building at Lake Forest Middle School.

During a meeting Monday afternoon, the Bradley County Board of Education voted to have The Lewis Group architectural firm begin work on designs for a new academic building.

Board members heard presentations from representatives of The Lewis Group of Knoxville, Cope Architecture of Knoxville and TWH architects of Chattanooga.

All emphasized their experience designing schools, but The Lewis Group’s local connection won over the board.

The Lewis Group has a Cleveland office, and its managing principal, Douglas Cawood, will be among those working with Bradley County Schools on Lake Forest’s design.

Todd Brang, the firm’s director of business development, also emphasized The Lewis Group’s existing relationships with local schools. It is partner with Valley View Elementary School through the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce’s BEST Partner program, and its staff members have participated in activities to teach high school students about their careers in architecture.

“That tells me they love Bradley County Schools,” 6th District board member Amanda Lee said.

While all three boasted familiarity with the school property, Lake Forest Middle School Principal Ritchie Stevenson also told the board The Lewis Group was the only one of the three whose representatives met with him to learn more about the school’s needs before presenting its qualifications to the board.

First District board member Chris Turner invited Stevenson to share what he saw as the school’s biggest needs.

“There’s a lot to consider there,” Stevenson said.

However, Stevenson said the amount of instruction space is the most important factor, whether the school system decides to construct a new building on Lake Forest’s current property or seek land elsewhere.

He said he would like to see there be at least 17 classrooms per each of the three grades.

Stevenson also noted it was “refreshing” to be able to sit down with someone to discuss design priorities. He said he had not been involved the last time a design was made for a new building at the school, one that didn’t end up being built.

The board’s vote gave it the OK to begin talks with The Lewis Group about designs for a new building at Lake Forest. Board members have said in the past getting new designs will give the board an updated cost estimate.

Past estimates for a new academic building at Lake Forest have been between $12 million and $14 million.

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