New elementary school in Sparta, Tennessee, set to inspire children

Findlay Elementary showcases new technology and design delivered in partnership with The Christman Company and Lewis Group

Findlay Elementary School hosted an open house and tours to officially introduce the state-of-the-art campus to the White County community with its construction, architectural and government partners on Dec. 23.

The Christman Company built the 102,000-square-foot facility in Sparta, Tennessee, at a project cost of $20 million. The Lewis Group Architects designed the facility. Both companies have offices in Knoxville, Tennessee.

“We enjoy all of our projects, but there is something particularly special about building a new school, especially for young children,” said Marty Gibbs, vice president and general manager for The Christman Company’s Knoxville operations. “We want students to be inspired when they arrive to school. We worked closely with all of our partners to make sure we built exactly what White County needed and wanted.”

The school, located at 560 Hale St., features redesigned classrooms with collaboration areas in the center of each wing for group activities, a gymnasium, cafeteria, administrative offices and a central courtyard with amphitheater seating for student activities. The gymnasium’s basketball court was officially dedicated during the open house to honor Kellie Jolly Harper, the head coach of the Tennessee Lady Vols basketball program and a native of Sparta.

“We want to transform the lives of our students and that starts at the elementary school level,” said Kurt Dronebarger, director of White County Schools. “We appreciate the commitment and diligence of The Christman Company and Lewis Group Architects to deliver exactly what we wanted for our schoolchildren. We broke ground April 11, 2018, with representatives from White County, school officials, construction and design partners, engineers and students, so to witness everyone come together to see the new school has been a wonderful experience.”

Findlay Elementary, the second largest elementary school in White County, has over 400 students and 60 employees. Last June, when Harper was welcomed back to her hometown with a celebration and pep rally at White County High School after being hired as Tennessee’s new coach, Dronebarger announced that the basketball court at the new Findlay Elementary School would be named “Kellie’s Court.” Harper attended the old Findlay Elementary School located directly across the street when she was known as Kellie Jolly.

“Elementary school education is so important for the development of children,” Harper said. “Findlay Elementary School has everything a child needs to learn and play from state-of-the-art classrooms to a new gymnasium. I am so honored to have the basketball court dedicated in my name, and I want to tell every child that you can reach your dreams. As a coach, I know everyone on the team has a role in making us successful. Thank you to everyone who played a part in the opening of this beautiful school.”

The Christman Company worked with Lewis Group Architects and White County officials in a value-analysis process, which resulted in significant savings to the White County Board of Education. The school also was constructed and designed to allow for future growth so the White County Board of Education can expand services to students as needed going forward.


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