BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — It is the future home of the Wolf Pack: West Ridge High School is nearing completion and will welcome around 1,700 students when it opens in the fall of 2021.
“Ensuring that our students are prepared for college and career, that is embedded in everything that we do and it’s embedded in the design of the building,” said principal of West Ridge, Dr. Josh Davis.
From the ground up, it symbolizes a new start for Sullivan County students. This will be the landing place for students and teachers from the closing Sullivan North, South and Central high schools. Their doors close for the final time Thursday, May 20.
“They have served our communities with pride for many years and we want to make sure we respect those communities and schools. At the same time, we are excited for kids to come onto this campus and the opportunities they are going to have moving forward,” said Davis.
In the days ahead, teachers at the closing schools are excited for a new beginning. They join their students with anticipation of this transition.
“My hope for the students that are coming together is definitely that they will quickly buy into being a wolf. We are not the rebels, the cougars the raiders, we are the Wolves,” said Sullivan South teacher Laura Roller, who will teach at West Ridge.
“I can’t say how privileged I feel being able to go to the new high school. The blending of the students, the blending of the faculty will enhance the community even more,” said Sullivan Central’s Robin Bagnall, who will continue her more than 30-year teaching career at West Ridge.
For the students, there is a lot to look forward to. Especially for seniors, it will feel like freshman year, starting over once again.
“I’m definitely anxious, it’s a lot bigger than anything I’ve ever been a part of, but I’m still excited. A lot of new faces and the opportunities are going to be amazing,” said Christopher Watkins, North junior and rising West Ridge senior.
West Ridge will more than double current career and technical programs. The most at any one school now is 13. The new high school will be home to 30. The school’s leader says the goal of the high school is “diploma plus,” meaning he wants all students to graduate with college credit, industry certification, or both.
“We have partnerships with Northeast State and ETSU to offer multiple dual-enrollment courses, we have expanded AP courses three-fold. The amount of opportunity is exponentially larger for our kids and that is what we are excited about,” said Davis.
Construction will continue through the summer and the school will be ready to welcome students on August 9.
“We all become Wolves. We wear the royal blue and grey and we are one family,” said Davis.