Knox School Board Considers Magnet School Proposal

Jul 8, 2013

Pellissippi State Community College's Strawberry Plains campus in eastern Knox County.
Credit Pellissippi State Community College

The Knox County School Board meets Monday night to discuss a proposed career and technical education magnet school in the eastern part of the county. School leaders plan to open the facility in the fall of 2014 in a special wing of Pellissippi State Community College’s campus in Strawberry Plains.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reported Pellissippi State will not charge rent, space cost or annual fees, but there are other expenses.  Superintendent Jim McIntyre said the school system will need an estimated $3.8 million to prepare the space for students, which has yet to be budgeted.

In an interview with WUOT, McIntyre said he is confident the Board of Education will be able to come up with the money for the project, as well as operational costs once the school year begins. Work to renovate the space would have to start by January if the fall 2014 goal is to be met.

McIntyre said the magnet school isn’t a new concept.

“Having a career and technical education magnet school was actually identified as a priority in our current five-year strategic plan that was adopted by the school board in 2009,” McIntyre said.

The superintendent added that the magnet school will offer Knox County students a unique partnership with the Pellissippi campus.

“We’ll have access to their faculty, we’ll have access to their facilities, we’ll have access to their laboratories and their workspaces,” he said. “It’s going to be an incredible collaborative effort.”

If approved by the board, the four programs offered at the new magnet school will be advanced manufacturing, sustainable living, homeland security and teacher preparation.

The Knox County School Board may vote on the proposal at a meeting on Wednesday.