News and Tribune

May 3, 2013

Redevelopment approves New Tech proposal

Motion passed for preliminary approval of alternative high school

By GARY POPP
gary.popp@newsandtribune.com

CLARKSVILLE —

The town of Clarksville is one step closer to offering parents another high school to choose from for their children’s education.

The Clarksville Redevelopment Commission passed a motion to accept a recommendation from its director, Nick Lawrence, to essentially allow the Clarksville Community School Corporation to establish New Tech High School at the town-owned, former Value City store property along Eastern Boulevard.

“My recommendation to the commission is that preliminary approval be given to the idea of making space available at the old Value City property to Clarksville Community School Corporation,” a statement released by Lawrence reads. “Final approval should come only if and after details regarding size ... details of the reversionary clauses, etc. can be worked out to the satisfaction of the Commission.”

CCSC board President Bill Wilson, a New Tech advocate, said the details to be ironed out among attorneys and architects are the only deterrents holding back the high school’s location at the Value City property, adding that those deterrents are the same speed bumps any business would face when setting into a municipality-owned property.

“They [commission members] have agreed, if we work out those details ... then we will have that site at Value City,” Wilson said. “We will have property there to put our New Tech High School.”

The motion was passed after CCSC Superintendent Kim Knott presented a proposal during the meeting for the commission to deed the school system the Value City property.

Knott expressed excitement after the meeting and the unanimous passage of the motion.

“We have been working actively on this process since, really, the fall of 2009,” she said.

Knott characterized the learning model offered by New Tech as group and project oriented that will prepare students for the 21st Century.

Although Knott is a supporter of the New Tech learning model, she said the traditional learning model used at Clarksville High School serves a purpose as well.

“There is no question in today’s society, it’s about having choices,” she said, adding New Tech is not for all students. “We are in the marketplace, and we have to give parents options.”

Following the meeting, Clarksville Redevelopment Commission President Bob Popp said the motion passed during the meeting is keeping the process of establishing New Tech High School in the Value City location moving forward.

“We are hoping it will go fairly quickly,” Popp said of attorneys working out details to place the school at the property. “The issue is not the tech school, that anyone is opposed to the tech school, but there has to be details worked out in this agreement, and we think they can be. But final approval can not given until the attorneys present this information to us.” 

While a final agreement between town and school officials has not been reached, both Wilson and Knott said they fully expect for New Tech to be founded at the Value City property in the coming years.

It remains undetermined if New Tech High School would occupy renovated portions of Value City, a completely new structure on the property or a combination of the two.

Knott said she would like to see the high school to expand to seventh and eighth grades at a later time.