Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Hightower and School Board Chair Kyla Cromer joined county leaders this week to officially kick off the gym renovation project, which will be funded by the county's Recreation and Parks Department and used as a community center.
Community leaders gathered at the historic Hickory Flat Gym this week to celebrate the preservation and conversion of the 1950s building into a community center through a partnership between CCSD and the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners. The School Board voted to lease the old gym, which was funded and built by members of the Hickory Flat community, to the county for 50 years, and the county’s Recreation and Parks Department will fund the renovation of the facility and its ongoing operation as community space.
When the new “face” and expansion of classrooms for the Hickory Flat Elementary School facility were completed on the site in the mid-1990s, a new gym for the school was not built until 2002, after voters approved a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for schools. The old gym, located on the southwest corner of the school campus, was left intact. Commission Chairman Harry Johnston and Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Pamela Carnes thanked the School Board and Superintendent for the vision and partnership that made it possible to convert the aging gym to community space and preserve an iconic structure. Dr. Brian V. Hightower, Superintendent of Schools, said it was a privilege to be involved in the project.
“You look around this gym and you can imagine the conversations that took place in these bleachers over popcorn during a game,” said Dr. Hightower. “It’s about community. It’s legacy. On behalf of the School Board, we want to congratulate the County and Parks and Recreation for moving forward on this project.”
The renovation work is expected to be completed in the summer of 2022.
A photo gallery from the event can be found at https://www.cherokeek12.net/DistrictGallery.aspx?CategoryId=382&schoolid=0
A history of Hickory Flat School can be found on the school’s website at https://www.cherokeek12.net/hickoryflates/Content2/hickoryflates-about