The History of Fairmount Elementary School
Fairmount Elementary School is located on a beautiful tree-studded campus on Virginia Avenue. This location once served as a campground for Native Americans traveling to the salt wells in what is now known as Saltville, Virginia. Later, this land provided camping for covered wagons that brought produce to the area from Shady Valley and Johnson City, Tennessee. As the community began to develop after the Civil War, in what was called the dense Fairmount Forest Park, the site of the present-day campus, a grand resort was planned. The elaborate Victorian Hotel Fairmount was constructed, and Fairmount Lake was developed for recreation. An elite residential section was planned around the famous hotel's grounds. By the turn of the century, the grand hotel had been destroyed by fire. Once again, the forest served as a short-term encampment site for the U. S. Army during World War I.
The original Fairmount School began serving this still elite and growing community in 1905. The first building was located on Kentucky Avenue, one block west of the present location. In 1925-1926, the present building was constructed on 8.83 acres, serving grades one through eight. In 1939, the gates were added at the front of the school with the sign honoring the name of the school and motto, "Character Above Intellect," adorning it. The original sign was replaced in 1991 with a colorful sandblasted design. Three additions were made to the building consisting of four classrooms in 1950, two classrooms and new gymnasium in 1960, and two classrooms in 1966. The entire "old" section of the school was renovated in 1972. The building encompassed 62,984 square feet.
In 2008, Fairmount Elementary School was demolished and Fairmount students moved to Central Elementary School, a 70-year old school building. Students from the two schools (approximately 250 from Fairmount and 180 from Central) were combined along with 80 staff members. Showing the true spirit of community, Central Elementary School welcomed 250 Fairmount students, for a combined total of 450 students and 80 staff members.
From Day One, the ultimate goal in the design and construction of the building was to create a facility and environment which will maximize student learning. Throughout the process, the school communities had numerous opportunities for input into the project. Teachers and students finalized a new school mascot, colors, and slogan. The mascot was the Red Hawks, and the concept for the new logo was developed by Tiffany Williams, Central art teacher. The new school colors were selected to be Fairmount red, navy, and khaki. “Together We Learn, United We Soar” was the new school slogan.
The new Fairmount Elementary School was designed by Community Techtonics Architects and constructed by Burwil Construction Company. Fairmount Elementary opened on schedule on January 6, 2009. It is a 75,000 square foot building with the following design features:
- One level school building
- Separate areas for buses and cars
- Performing arts stage between gymnasium and dining area
- Fourteen classrooms with bathroom facilities
- HVAC controls in all classrooms
- Parking to accommodate 120 vehicles
- Domed library
- Covered entrance ways
- Natural lighting
- Automated lighting in classrooms