Director of Schools Dr. Martin Ringstaff, and six of seven board members, toured the building for a first-hand view of the opportunities. Several school department heads also attended.
“This is like the movie (‘Field of Dreams’),” said longtime board member Dawn Robinson. “If they (the city) accept the offer, this facility will be used.”
“We (the school board) would never dream this big (on taxpayer dollars),” added Robinson.
School board chair Peggy Pesterfield continued along the same lines. “It’s a wonderful facility,” she said. “It has numerous potentials (for the city and the school system), and it would be a real asset for City Schools, the city and the community.”
Ringstaff spent much of the tour taking notes on space possibilities the building offers. “We’ll look at the school system needs, and what this building offers,” he said.
Board member Tom Cloud said each of the four floors has about 12,000 square feet of space, while the school system’s central office and the Star Center on North Ocoee have only 13,000 square feet combined.
Cleveland Board of Education members are leaving Saturday morning for the Tennessee School Board Association convention in Nashville. They do not plan to return to Cleveland until Tuesday, following Monday’s City Council meeting.
Councilman Richard Banks had proposed the school board tour the building, which was accomplished this morning.
Ringstaff and Pesterfield said the board will (in all probability) discuss today’s tour, and what opportunities the buildings offers, during an informal meeting in Nashville Sunday. He will report on that meeting early in the week.
Most board members agreed an extensive study would be needed (by the city) to determine how best the space in the building can be used.
Board member Richard Shaw brought up one key issue ... the cost of maintaining the huge facility.
Robinson said she has been in some large buildings where different businesses and organizations share space on the ground floor, with additional facilities elsewhere in the building. She felt this is an idea which could be utilized in the First Tennessee building.
“Our community is going to grow,” added Pesterfield, noting future possibilities for the building. “We may not need all of this space at this time, but we will later.”
“This is such a generous offer,” said Robinson. “The opportunities are tremendous, if the city and school system are allowed to dream.”
“It would be a dream come true (for us),” added Pesterfield.