KINGSPORT — Tuesday, day two of the 2019-20 school year at Dobyns-Bennett High School, went off without a major hitch and smoother than day one, school system officials said. Students, faculty and staff settled into the daily routine in the new Regional Science and Technology Center.
The 80,000-square-foot addition, also the new main entrance for the almost 2,200-student school, opened for business on Monday. Principal Chris Hampton said one classroom, a robotics area, remains incomplete, and white boards still must be installed.
Over Labor Day weekend, some final topcoat paving will be done on the Midland Drive entrance, and he and Assistant Superintendent of Administration Andy True said the parking lot next to the Civic Auditorium, mostly faculty but some for students, will be marked for use next week. Some landscaping also is to be done in the next few weeks, Hampton and True said.
Hampton said the three-story addition already is being used for Tribe Time lunch and can hold about 200 students. Temporary directional signs inside the building will be made into permanent wall signs after they are fine-tuned.
“This building right here is made for physics. It is perfect,” Advanced Placement physics teacher Mike Pencarinha said as students did an experiment with a small electric dune buggy on the polished concrete floor.
“It’s really thinned out some of our hall traffic throughout the building,” Hampton said.
A ribbon cutting and open house hasn’t been set yet, Hampton and True said, with both saying that likely would happen after Labor Day. However, the school will host its first home football game on Aug. 23 when Tennessee High comes calling. Hampton said tailgating will be inside and around the building.
In addition, the tentative plan is to hold a Board of Education meeting in the facility soon.
The more than $20 million project was funded by a $140 million Sullivan County bond issue that also went toward two new county schools under construction, Sullivan East Middle and West Ridge High, and a pending new Vance Middle School in Bristol.