MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Mayor Lee Harris took us on a tour of the old Trezevant High school Friday, making his case that students and the community deserve better as he pushes to get a new school built.
When you walk through the halls of Trezevant High school in Frayser, it’s easy to see an old building and facilities that are showing their age. Trezevant first opened its doors back in 1960
“We have some of the oldest school facilities in our district in Frayser, Tennessee,” Harris said. “They’re making the most out of their environment, but the reality is the roof is leaking, the facilities are aged and its time to bring these kids and this community into the 21st century.”
To help make his case for a new school, Mayor Harris and other stakeholders allowed WREG cameras to tour the school’s aging infrastructure for ourselves.
“We saw all sorts of stains on ceilings throughout the facility, which is an indication the roof is leaking in hundreds of places around,” he said.
Asbestos is making us all fearful for our health, Harris said. There are also run-down sports locker rooms.
Coach Joshua Coules says that’s just to name a few of the problems athletes face.
“It’s kind of unusable,” Coules said. “It goes beyond the locker rooms and the weight facilities. Our fields are not exactly safe. In fact, our baseball field, they wouldn’t even let us use the baseball field originally when we showed up.”
Many say the neglected infrastructure makes it harder for students to learn and achieve.
“With a major upgrade, we want our students to be able to go out into the world and be a thermostat. They change the climate in everything they’re doing and putting forth in life,” said Trezevant Principal Eric Brent.
Memphis Shelby County Schools had been seeking $10 million from the county to revive the stalled high school project.
But County Commissioners recently voted down the mayor’s proposed $50 increase in the county’s wheel tax to pay for two new high schools and upgrades for Regional One Hospital.
“This is an opportunity to invest in our schools and we’ll be talking with the commissioners. We’ve got a few prospects,” Harris said.
Another prospect would be increasing the property tax.
“I don’t think any of us on the tour today care about how funding comes. We just want the funding to come,” Harris said. “We should be investing in our schools. It’s been far too long and these kids deserve better.”
Last week, Trezevant High School student held a news conference to talk about the need for a new high school in hopes of getting support from the Shelby County Commission.