Celebrating the Future Gibbs Middle School

By Mike Steely


“It’s finally happened and we’re here to celebrate,” said Board of Education member Mike McMillan Saturday. Hundreds of people gathered at the future site of the Gibbs Middle School to celebrate the new school location.

“It’s 24 years we’ve been waiting to get our middle school back,” said Richie Beeler, master of ceremonies. Beeler introduced County Commission Chairman Dave Wright.

Middle school students in the Gibbs community have had to ride county school buses to the Holston Middle School, more than an hour away from their community. The new middle school will be located on a beautiful hill top behind the Gibbs Elementary School and just across Tazewell Pike from Gibbs High School.

“I’m local,” Wright said, “I did all my secondary education across the road.”  Wright recognized the efforts of current School Board Chairman Doug Harris, County Mayor Tim Burchett, and County Law Director Richard Armstrong.

Burchett mentioned the cooperation of School Superintendent James McIntyre and specifically singled out Steve Hunley, publisher of The Knoxville Focus, for his promotion of the new school.

“Steve Hunley deserves a special acknowledgement,” said McMillan.

Harris called the new school “a down payment” to help children and applauded the Gibbs community for their effort. He also gave a “shout out to Steve Hunley” and complimented Wright for his push for the new school.

He said he had received letters from children, businesses, and even grandparents who encouraged him that the school should be built.

“This is how government should work,” Harris said.

Superintendent McIntyre said the success in authorizing a new school “has been a long time coming” and complimented the supporters of the school and the advocacy of the community. He also thanked the board of education and the county commission for their votes to approve the project.

For years a paved road has led from the elementary school to the top of the hill where the school will be built and McIntyre called that route “a driveway in search of a school.”

Prior to the speakers various county officials mingled with the swelling crowd. Mike Tipton sang the National Anthem and the supporters, with their children and grandchildren, settled in at tables beneath a large tent to celebrate the occasion.

Following the speakers, lunch was served. The Cookout sponsors included Huddletown BBQ, Midway IGA, East Stop Exxon, Weigels, Dollar General, CVS, Twisters, Henry’s Deli & Bakery, Shell Breadbox, Patterson Tn Waste, Gibbs Car Wash, Gibbs Service Center, Knox County, Jack Huddleston, The Knoxville Focus and Steve Hunley.

The Gibbs schools are located just north of the Tazewell Pike and Emory Road intersection.