Historic Knoxville High School has a new lease on life with the opening of a senior living facility.
Built in 1910, Knoxville High saw it’s last graduating class in 1951. Over the years it deteriorated, winding up on Knox Heritage’s Fragile 15 list, with the county left working to figure out what to do with it. Commissioners decided in 2013 to sell it off for redevelopment.
Now, Knoxville High Senior Independent Living offers 80 apartments and restored honor to the building’s legacy, 67 years after that last graduating class walked the halls.
Dozens came out to walk down memory lane, roam the halls and reflect how different high school has truly become.
“We came with a whole group of people that we had always been with,” said Sara Fischer-Frazer with the Knoxville High School Historical Committee and graduating class of 1950. “It’s not like these campuses you have now with 1,400 kids, we weren’t just thrown into a place we didn’t know.”
Now, looking back at what’s been preserved, renewed and kept in boxes in the depths of basements for years, many of Knoxville High’s memorabilia are back in its original home.
“They saved everything they could,” says Fischer-Frazer. “I think it shows a way of life and it shows the importance of education.”
Each apartment was once a classroom and every apartment door – a Knoxville High original complete with the markings left behind.
“You can come in here and wreck everything and it loses it’s character but if you keep certain aspects those who went here or knew the building when they come back in they’re still familiar with it,” said Shea Ramsey with Dover Development, the company which breathed new life into historic Knoxville High.