BLOUNTVILLE — Paver work is moving forward at West Ridge High School even if building and paving a new access road to the facility seems stalled indefinitely.
If you want to help support West Ridge athletics, you can purchase a paver for as little as $100 that will be installed at the entrance to the football stadium in time for the first scheduled home game on Sept. 3. The $1 million artificial turf field also is set to be ready for use by then.
You also can buy a $10 West Ridge face mask to help the athletic programs at the new school.
The West Ridge Athletic Boosters, formed from athletic booster leaders of Sullivan South, North and Central high schools that are merging to form West Ridge, has started selling the pavers for $100 for text only or $120 for text and clip art. As of Wednesday afternoon, the group reported it had sold 18 pavers.
Alan Novak of Central, Marcy Taylor-Vance of North and Brian Wallen of South are the leadership team for a 15-member steering committee or board of directors for the new group. Aside from the current athletic booster presidents from the three schools, each school has four members on the board.
NEW SCHOOL GOAL UNITY, BUT ACCESS ROAD IN LIMBO
Novak said the group has taken a single-word goal for West Ridge from new Principal Josh Davis to heart: unity.
“We’ve sort of taken that word on,” Novak said.
However, repeated proposals sent to the county commission for a new access road to the school from the Board of Education have been turned down, most recently a few weeks ago.
The commission approved bonds that funded the school and other school capital projects in December 2016 knowing the site of the new high school is accessible only by Lynn Road, a curvy two-lane thoroughfare with tight turns, narrow sections and elevation changes. The county highway department plans to widen the road so two buses can pass by the time school starts Aug. 9.
The more than $66 million school was designed to hold 1,700 students but is projected to open with 1,900 to 2,000 and then decrease to 1,700 in a few years.
WHAT ARE PAVER AND MASK FUNDRAISER DETAILS?
Novak said that aside from a few sales before the campaign was formally launched, paver sales mostly came from a Facebook post Tuesday night. In addition to the pavers, Taylor-Vance said the group has been selling masks for about a month.
“For the first year we’re trying to sell 500” pavers, Novak said Wednesday.
All pavers sold for 2021 are to be in place by the time of the first home game at West Ridge, which will play Science Hill on Sept. 3, Novak said.
The first two games will be away, Aug. 20 at Volunteer and Aug. 27 at Daniel Boone.
“The mask we’ve had out about 30 days,” Taylor-Vance said Wednesday, adding that so far about 200 have been sold. “The pavers we just launched a few nights ago.”
Those who purchase a mask for $10 can pick it up or possibly have it delivered.
Pavers can be ordered through the boosters group website. The cost is $100 for text only of 20 characters on two lines or $120 for text of 15 characters on two lines.
Novak said the pavers will be sent to the football field construction site for installation when they are needed.
Novak said that of about 60,000 pavers at the West Ridge entrance, which has some pillars reminiscent of Stone Hinge or possibly some masonry gas pumps, the boosters have about 10,000 spaces available for the fundraising pavers.
He said that is according to information from Dineen West, principal architect of Cain Rash West Architects of Kingsport that designed the school along with the national architectural firm LS3P.