TVA Tower Doesn't Meet District Needs

There are a lot of high-powered people working very hard to convince the public that moving the Knox County Schools Administrative Offices and the Board of Education into the TVA East Tower is a great deal. It seems that they believe convincing the public will, in turn, pressure the Board of Education to accept this highly questionable deal. If it were a great deal and if it were in the best interests of our students and staff, we would be overjoyed.

It is not a great deal and it is not in the best interests of our students and staff.

It should be concerning to all citizens, that Knox County officials are ignoring the clearly expressed needs of the school administration.

Some of the needs that have been expressed, to best serve our staff and students:

  • A campus-style location
  • Adequate space to bring in services currently scattered throughout the county
  • A location that is easily accessible to parents and community members, as well as staff
  • Adequate space to hold public meetings
  • Free and easily accessible parking for staff and visitors

The TVA East Tower does not meet these needs. 


What Do Other Districts Do?

The chart below shows how other districts in Tennessee meet the needs listed above. Of all other district offices I looked at, 100% met these needs. Knox County is a notable exception.

This chart is not meant to show all information possible, but only a comparison between districts.

District Campus Style? Former School? Board Mtgs Here?        Other Offices at This Location Outside Offices Parking
Current KCS No  No  No Great Schools Partnership Maintenance



Assistive Technology

Paid Garage (Two paid garages for BOE members)
Proposed KCS No No No  TBA Paid Garage (Two paid garages for BOE members)
 Bradley County Yes  No Yes Adjacent to Bradley-Central HS Free Lot
 Cleveland City  Yes  ?  Yes Adjacent to Elem & Primary Schools

Bus Garage

(CTE is located at 350 Central Avenue, Cleveland, TN 37311)

Free Lot
Hamilton County (Chattanooga) Yes Yes Yes Transportation Free Lot
Metro Nashville Yes ? Yes Free Lot
Oak Ridge Yes Yes Yes Family Resource Center

(Transportation is at another former school at 100 Woodbury Lane.)

Free Lot
 Sevier County  Yes  Yes?  Yes Adjacent to White’s Adult HS


Free Lot
Sumner County Yes Yes Yes Teacher Center
Community Use Stadium
Materials Center
Career & Technical Ed
Free Lot
 Warren County  Yes ?  Yes Free Lot


Sumner County

695 East Main Street • Gallatin, TN
Screen Shot 2019-11-03 at 11.49.54 AM

Bradley County

800 South Lee Highway, Cleveland, TN
Screen Shot 2019-11-03 at 12.21.56 PM

Cleveland City – 2 locations

Administrative Office Building (AOB)
4300 Mouse Creek Road, Cleveland, TN
Screen Shot 2019-11-03 at 12.36.50 PM
F. I. Denning Center
350 Central Avenue, Cleveland, TN
Screen Shot 2019-11-03 at 12.38.47 PM

Hamilton County (Chattanooga)

3074 Hickory Valley Road, Chattanooga, TN
Screen Shot 2019-11-03 at 2.19.13 PM

Metro Nashville

2601 Bransford Avenue, Nashville, TN
Screen Shot 2019-11-03 at 2.28.40 PM

Oak Ridge

304 New York Ave, Oak Ridge, TN
Screen Shot 2019-11-03 at 1.51.51 PM

Sevier County

226 Cedar Street, Sevierville, TN
Screen Shot 2019-11-03 at 1.37.06 PM

Warren County

2548 Morrison Street, McMinnville, TN

Screen Shot 2019-11-03 at 12.31.56 PM



TVA Tower and REAL ID

Putting Knox County Schools in the TVA Towers will limit public access.

*REAL ID is only one of many concerns regarding placing our public schools’ administrative offices in a federal building. Please see my other posts on the TVA Tower to get a sense of the magnitude of problems with this deal.



“The REAL ID Act of 2005 establishes minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards. Beginning October 1, 2020, all persons must have a REAL ID license for accessing certain Federal buildings, entering nuclear facilities, and boarding commercial flights within the United States.”

“Non-compliant driver licenses and identification credentials issued beginning July 1, 2019, will display the phrase, “NOT FOR FEDERAL IDENTIFICATION” on the front of the credential.”

The REAL ID Act of 2005

establishes minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards. 







After many questions and constantly changing answers, I turned to the entity that is ultimately responsible for enforcing the requirements of the REAL ID Act: Homeland Security.



Our local school district is considering locating our offices in part of TVA’s East Tower in Knoxville, TN. As we consider this move, there are many questions regarding REAL ID, but one stands out: 

We have been told that REAL ID will not be required for access to the first floor of the East Tower (even after October of 2020) and that any person will be able to enter. Since this is still part of a federal building, and is fully connected to the other TVA Tower, that information seems to run contrary to the REAL ID Act.

Can you please tell me whether an individual federal agency (specifically, TVA) has the authority to allow full public access to a large part of a federal building? Any guidance you can give on this issue is greatly appreciated.

Thank you!


Thank you for contacting the Department of Homeland Security/REAL ID Program Office.

 If the facility does not currently require a driver’s license for entrance it will not be affected by REAL ID.

Thank you,
REAL ID Program Office
Department of Homeland Security


The TVA Tower DOES currently require a driver’s license, for ANY access (and a scan/search of all bags, pass through a metal detector, and a background check!).
It seems very clear to me, that this means that ALL parts of the tower will require a REAL ID for access. 



Moving any part of our local government into a Federal building will negatively impact marginalized people by keeping them out of public offices everyone should have a right to access.

Real ID was part of a Homeland Security initiative after 9/11, but state compliance was minimal. Had it been rolling out over all this time, it wouldn’t be such a problem.


Based on the story below, from WBIR, only about 4% of Tennesseans will be able to access the offices of our “public” schools administrative offices, if they are moved to the TVA Tower .

Have you called your Board of Education members and your County Commissioners to let them know how you feel? Have you asked why they are willing to take access away from parents, by housing KCS offices in a federal building? Have you asked who really gains from this deal? (Not students)


Only about 4% of Tennesseans have a REAL ID