School officials, parents discuss future of Weaver Elementary


On Monday night, around a hundred people met in Sullivan County to learn the future of Weaver Elementary.

The county is looking at possibly closing the school, after school officials noticed some major structural issues.

There's no final plan yet. But school officials are looking at a couple of options, including closing the school as early as the end of this school year.

All of this started back in September when officials noticed the walls had shifted in a part of the school that holds the library and a couple of classrooms.

In October, a structural engineering group looked at the problem, and added steel beams to support the roof. So for now, the school is considered structurally sound. But engineers worry that's only a temporary fix, and estimate the school only has up to two years of life left.

So on Monday night, Director of Schools Evelyn Rafalowski brought up an idea. If Weaver closes after this school year, there is enough room at Bluff City Elementary and Bluff City Middle School to accept everyone. Emmett and Holston Valley also have space.

But parents said they have a tight knit community at Weaver. And they worry their children will get lost in the shuffle at a bigger school.

"If we move Weaver into Bluff City, it's really going to put a hardship on trying to transition both these families into one," Sommer Rosenbalm said.

"We feel good about it for now, but heavy loads of snow, wind would cause further concern," school board chairman Michael Hughes said. "But like they said we're measuring it every week."

While the school was built in 1921, Hughes said the part that needs work was built in the 1930's. School officials are still looking at whether it's worth renovating.

Rafalowski plans to make a recommendation of what to do next to the school board at their meeting in April.

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