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Public input given on former Rule High School

7:06 PM, May 2, 2013   |    comments
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Rule High School closed in 1991 and has remained vacant ever since.

An important part of Knoxville history, that's fallen on hard times, may get a second chance.

Thursday night the public had an opportunity to discuss what they would/would not like to see happen to the former Rule High School building and site.

The school in Northwest Knoxville closed in 1991 due to low enrollment. It has remained vacant ever since.

"I've been after it for years trying to get someone to do something," said David Latham, Rule High School alumnus.

Latham has lived near the property almost his whole life.

"It's been on fire two or three times up in the gym and yeah they [intruders] break into it pretty regularly," Latham said.

Neighbor Tina Chalmers added, "Homeless people, addicts, and stuff coming in and out of the building."

Chalmers would like to see it turn into a center for the neighborhood's youth.

"That's probably why they get into trouble and do what they do and sell drugs and stuff because they really don't have a place to go," Chalmers said.

Rule High School opened in 1927.

Knox Heritage considers it a historical building worth saving.

"We'd like to see the building restored and reused. We think it would be a great structure for housing or office use and it's in a great location. The views from up on top of the hill are quite amazing," said Kim Trent, executive director for Knox Heritage.

Rule High School alumni have an invested interest in the building as well.

"Rule was just a special place. Everybody was about the same economic background. We didn't have any real rich kids; we had plenty of poor kids but most people were just working class families," said Billy Stokes, Rules High School Class of 1970.

Latham added, "We had the best school in the world."

The Board of Education, City of Knoxville, and Knox County government requested East Tennessee Community Design Center (CDC) to look into the present condition of the site and structures.

CDC held a meeting, open to the public, on Thursday night to get input from the public.

Once all the information is gathered, CDC Executive Director David Watson said they will produce a report of findings and present them to city, county and school leaders.

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