Construction starts on two schools

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Students and teachers help break ground at the future site of new Lonsdale Elementary School. Photo submitted by Knox County Schools.

The 2020-2021 school year has brought challenges of a sort that are wholly new in the history of American public education.

Amidst picture-perfect spring weather Monday, in two different parts of Knox County, a spirit of hope and optimism returned as construction officially began on two new elementary schools. 

New campus facilities are being built that will replace Lonsdale Elementary School and Adrian Burnett Elementary School. The new schools are projected to open in the fall semester of 2022.  

Both schools will be 94,000-square-foot buildings and will have capacity for approximately 800 students. 

According to a press release from Knox County Schools, the Lonsdale school will include: 

  • 36 classrooms
  • 4 teacher work areas
  • 2 special education classroom suites
  • a 7,100-square-foot gymnasium
  • a music room
  • an art room
  • a library
  • a storm shelter that will house approximately 935 occupants 
  • a 2,000-square-foot recreation center for the City of Knoxville 
Artist’s rendering of new Lonsdale Elementary School.

A second press release said the new Adrian Burnett facility will include: 

  • 34 classrooms
  • 4 teacher work areas
  • 2 special education classroom suites
  • a music room
  • an art room
  • a library
  • a 7,100-square foot gymnasium
  • a storm shelter that will house approximately 935 occupants

The Lonsdale construction project represents a unique partnership between the school system, Knox County and the City of Knoxville. In 2019, they agreed to use the adjacent Lonsdale Park property for the new school.  

Upon completion of the new facility, students from Sam E. Hill Primary School – which currently serves pre-K to first grade students – will attend Lonsdale.  

The new $19.95 million Lonsdale school will be built by contractor Rouse Construction Company. McCarty, Holsaple, McCarty, Inc. is the architect. 

The new Adrian Burnett Elementary School has been a more traditional project. The school is expected to cost $19,945,000 and will be located on the existing campus on Brown Gap Road.

The architect on the project is Johnson Architecture, Inc., and the contractor is Merit Construction, Inc. 

Schools Superintendent Bob Thomas and Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs attended both ceremonies, along with board members, principals, and community members. Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon was only present at the Lonsdale groundbreaking since the school is within the city limits and received city support.  

“This project is much-needed in the Lonsdale/ Halls community and I’m excited that it is underway,” Jacobs said.

At the Lonsdale groundbreaking ceremony, School Board member Evetty Satterfield offered unique praise to the community for its support of the new school.  

“It’s about the people of Lonsdale,” she said. “You all made this happen.  Your unwavering advocacy, understanding of how to move systems, and your love for your community is the real reason why we are here.  Thank you for allowing me to serve you all.  I’m excited for what is to come because this is just the beginning.   So — congratulations! You all did it!”

Artist’s rendering of new Adrian Burnett Elementary School.

Published on March 30, 2021