Dr. Sunny Scheafnocker, who has stood at the helm as principal of Hardin Valley Elementary School for the past seven years, is heading toward a new horizon as principal of the new elementary school, being built in the northwest sector of Knox County and scheduled to open in August 2023.
Meanwhile the new school, which is 25 percent complete, is expected to be finished in late May/early June 2023 at 10515 Coward Mill Road, according to Joshua Flory, multimedia specialist with Knox County Schools.
For Scheafnocker, the transition is “bittersweet.”
“The opportunity to build a new school, literally from the ground up, is a principal’s dream,” she said. “This is an opportunity that will only come around once in my career, and I’m honored to be the one selected to do it.”
At the same time, having spent the last 12 years at Hardin Valley Elementary, which included the first five as an assistant principal, “leaving the students and staff is hard,” Scheafnocker said.
“Looking back over the time that I spent at Hardin Valley Elementary as an assistant principal and head principal, this has been achieved and I couldn’t be prouder,” she added. “HVES is such a special school.”
Moving ahead, “the new school will be a mixture of Hardin Valley Elementary students and Karns Elementary students, so the new school will allow me to serve both of these communities.”
As an educator entering her 20th year in 2022-23 who also has been a KCS student and teacher, “I can’t think of a better way to celebrate two decades of service,” she said.
“The new school has a designed capacity of 1,200 students,” Scheafnocker added. “... It will help alleviate overcrowding at both Hardin Valley and Karns elementary schools.”
While a name for the school has not yet been announced, it will feature 56 classrooms, three teacher work areas, two special education classrooms, a support spaces, a library, two music rooms, two art rooms, a 6,700-square-foot gym with a stage and a storm shelter holding about 1,320 people.
The Christman Company is general contractor for the $24.2 million project.
Architect is Lewis Group Architects.