Gibbs community members push for a middle school

Gibbs community members push for a middle school

Posted:
A website was recently was created to drum up support for a new Gibbs Middle School. A website was recently was created to drum up support for a new Gibbs Middle School.
"Our fifth graders are leaving Gibbs Elementary as fifth graders; they're going to town and coming back as freshman," said Becky Crawford. "Our fifth graders are leaving Gibbs Elementary as fifth graders; they're going to town and coming back as freshman," said Becky Crawford.
Currently, middle school students near Gibbs attend Holston Middle School in East Knoxville, approximately 10-15 miles away from the Gibbs community. Currently, middle school students near Gibbs attend Holston Middle School in East Knoxville, approximately 10-15 miles away from the Gibbs community.
"[My son] is on the bus for over two hours a day and in order for me to get to work on time, I can't get him to school and get him to work," said Lisa Lowrey. "[My son] is on the bus for over two hours a day and in order for me to get to work on time, I can't get him to school and get him to work," said Lisa Lowrey.

By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Parents in Knox County's Gibbs community say they're tired of being ignored and want a new middle school. They're launching a campaign to get the word out.

A website, www.gibbsmiddlenow.com, was recently created to drum up support. There's also a Facebook page with more than 400 likes.  

Knox County Schools is looking for input countywide on what people want, as it prioritizes its next five year capital plan.

Many in the Gibbs community say they want a middle school to be part of the plan.

Becky Crawford attended the old Gibbs Middle School in 1991, the year the school closed. She's now helping to lead the charge to get a new middle school in the Gibbs community.

"Our fifth graders are leaving Gibbs Elementary as fifth graders; they're going to town and coming back as freshman. So, we really want to bridge the gap between Gibbs Elementary and Gibbs High School," said Crawford.

Currently, middle school students near the Gibbs community attend Holston Middle School in East Knoxville, approximately 10-15 miles away.  

Supporters for a new middle school claim the average student travels nearly 6,000 miles in one school year to get to Holston.  

"Time and money is being wasted in transportation, and folks feel like they went their kids closer to home," said Mike McMillan, a Knox County School board member representing the Gibbs area.

Some parents say the daily commute is too far. Lisa Lowrey is mother to three boys, including a sixth grader at Holston Middle. 

"He's on the bus for over two hours a day and in order for me to get to work on time, I can't get him to school and get to work," said Lowrey.  

The school system owns two parcels of land that supporters say would be perfect for a middle school.  

One parcel of property was purchased by Knox County Schools behind Gibbs Elementary in 2003, another in 1997 near the intersection of Tazewell Pike and Atkins Road.

The school system has been holding a series of events called insight sessions to get public input on the five-year plan. 

So far, a Gibbs Middle School has never been part of a capital plan.

"Basically the school system has ignored it up to this point," said McMillan.

The next session is scheduled for October 15, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Farragut High School.   More sessions will be held October 21 at Karns High, October 24 at Halls Elementary and October 29 at Austin-East High School.

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