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Striving for the Best

More than 1,200 corporate leaders, elected officials and citizens attended dedication ceremonies in August for the newly renovated Oak Ridge High School. The $61 million renovation was the largest K-12 construction project in Tennessee history. The $17 million raised privately was also a Tennessee record.

The high school renovation was coordinated in part by UT-Battelle, which donated $2 million to help leverage support for a one-half cent sales tax referendum that received approval from 73% of Oak Ridge voters.

The new high school facility offers students some of the nation's most sophisticated science laboratories, a priority of the renovation project. Equipped with geothermal heat pumps and an array of other energy-efficient technologies, the school serves appropriately as a daily laboratory in a city that is home to one of the world's leading energy research facilities.

UT-Battelle views the high school project as both an example of corporate citizenship and part of a long-term strategy to attract talented researchers to Oak Ridge National Laboratory. ORNL Director Thom Mason, who chairs the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation, sees parallels in the modernization of the school and modernization at the Laboratory. In both instances, Mason believes that investments in modernization will provide lasting returns in the form of gifted researchers and their families who will see in Oak Ridge a commitment to the highest standards of science and education.

Children from grades K-12 at the dedication of the new Oak Ridge High School
Children from grades K-12 at the dedication of the new Oak Ridge High School


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