EVENSVILLE, TN (WRCB)- Overcrowding in Rhea County schools will soon be a thing of the past. The new Rhea County High School opens in August, setting off a chain reaction that will result in more classroom space countywide. The new high school is being built with a capacity of 2,000 students.
The current Rhea County High School will become the county's only middle school, relieving overcrowding at Rhea Central Elementary, which will change from K-8 to K-5. Principal Doug Keylon will become principal at the middle school. Rhonda McNally, moves up from assistant principal to the top job at the elementary school.
Superintendent Jerry Levengood calls the new $30 million high school "a building which changes this county for the better." He points out new technology, science labs, a theater, two gyms and a large commons area "that will allow us to host several events at once."
Principal Jesse Messimer says trying to run a high school next door to a construction site for the past two years has been a challenge, "but it's all about to pay off for us." He said the new school will be a showplace for Rhea County. "We can host TSSAA athletic events that have never been possible here before. And academically, we can stand up next to anybody."
County Commissioner Ron Masterson, a former School Board member, remembered the long struggle that took place to find the funding and make the school possible. "I have grandchildren who will be going here soon. They can't wait, and neither can I. It's going to be a great addition to Rhea County." Masterson also praised Rhea County educators. "They've been teaching in crowded quarters for a long time, but they've made it work. They deserve this new school."