However, school officials hope to keep using the Sullivan County-owned football field for the TCCS Eagles football team this fall.
The campus serving the greater Kingsport area houses K-6 plus day care in the 82,000-square-foot building, once home to Lynn View High School.
As part of a plan that eventually will consolidate all Tri-Cities Christian campuses but one to the Blountville location, elementary classes will cease at the old Lynn View Feb. 13, with day care following Feb. 27.
School officials confirmed the closure in a news release late Monday after word of the change came out of school officials’ meetings with parents.
“We have a flourishing academic institution,” said Wes Rosenbalm, chairman of the TCCS board. He said the problem is the more than 800-student system can’t get stable financially because it has too many buildings with too much overhead from utilities and maintenance.
“It’s not our desire to close any campus, but we do have to balance our budget,” Rosenbalm said, adding that he hopes to work out continued use of the football field with the county.
“Parents send their children to Tri-Cities Christian School for a reason,” Rosenbalm said of the non-denominational, Bible-based school founded in Kingsport in 1973. “That reason is not going to be changing. The only thing that is changing is the location.”
Temporarily, the K-6 students who attended Lynn View will be bused to the Bristol, Tenn., campus, although attending the Johnson City campus also is an option for some, Rosenbalm said.
However, after the school year ends in May, the Bristol and Johnson City campuses will close. Come fall, all students from those campuses, as well as Kingsport, will be bused to the Blountville campus, near Tri-Cities Regional Airport.
Rosenbalm said it is possible TCCS could operate a day care at another location in the Kingsport area. He said the Gray day care location will remain open because it is financially viable.
Money from selling the Kingsport, Bristol and Johnson City buildings will be used to pay down TCCS debt, Rosenbalm said.
TCCS Administrator Pat Yelton said the system has some interest already in the old Lynn View.
“We’ve already got some inquiries,” Yelton said Tuesday afternoon. “We don’t have anything definite.”
Sullivan County Commissioner Wayne McConnell of West Kingsport said the county has the first right of refusal to buy back the property under the commission resolution that gave the deed to the property to TCCS in mid-2005.
“We’ve got the first option of buying it back, but I don’t know if we’d want to buy it back,” McConnell said Tuesday afternoon.
The Sullivan County Board of Education voted in February 2003 to close the school, and it last housed county students in May of that year. TCCS began leasing the building, with an option to buy, and used the building as a K-6 and added the day care.
By the 2005 deed transfer, McConnell said, TCCS had made lease payments on the structure for almost two years and spent about $253,000 on the building and had another $60,000 of in-kind contributions and donations for the building.