Located in West Knoxville, just off Cedar Bluff Rd., Tate’s School just opened the most amazing Athletic & Dining Hall! It features a gym, indoor and outdoor dining areas, and a kitchen where homemade meals are prepared for students. Resident Chef Gerry Gardner delights in encouraging healthy eating and incorporating fresh herbs and vegetables from the on-site teaching gardens.
Barry Byrd Architecture and Merit Construction worked closely with Tate’s to ensure the facility would work well on Tate’s 54-acre campus that is filled with unique, rustic log structures. “The gym looks nothing like a school building at all. With the look of an elegant Kentucky horse stable on the exterior and heavy timber beams and trusses on the interior, it is truly a signature building in our community,” said Barry Byrd, Architect.
The building features barn sconces, the same lighting system used by Disney to create colorful LED displays, an elegant grey board and batten interior, outdoor patios, a commercial kitchen, and the speakers are the same ones found at the Titan Stadium. “Yes, we have already been contacted by several brides-to-be, photographers, alumni, and corporations about the possibility of renting the space as an event venue. We will definitely give that consideration and hope to give back to the community as well,” said Tracey Van Hook, Tate’s Director of Resource Development. Tate’s Day Camp will utilize the building in the summer months.
Lou L. Tate, founder of Tate’s School, and her husband, Joe, former Knox county principal and real estate developer, entertained the crowd with stories of how the school started 49 years ago after moving here from Arkansas. Comprised of pristine farmland, there are still surprises on campus. In fact, the road beside “The Barn” is a very old wagon trail (a portion of which is still accessible) that winds its way from Middlebrook Pike through campus. “The Old Wagon Rd” was officially named as a part of today’s festivities.
Students wore farmers’ hats to remind themselves of the history of the land and enjoyed red barn cookies to celebrate the day. It was fitting that since the School’s humble beginnings in the education wing of Erin Presbyterian Church, that Reverend John Stuart from Erin offered prayers and blessings for the new building as it was dedicated today. “God has always been our guide as we have grown the school over the years. Isaiah 40:31 is on the front of the building to remind current and future generations about our faith,” said Lou L. Tate. Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31
Fondly called “The Barn” by students, this new building is a part of Tate’s managed growth strategy in which Tate’s has expanded into the middle school grades. 6th grade was added in last year, followed by 7th grade this school year, and a new 8th grade building is slated to open in the fall of 2017.