Smoky Mountain Children’s Home Completes Capital Project

Sevierville, TN–The campus of the Smoky Mountain Children’s Home (SMCH) has completed a $2.1 million capital improvement project.

Leading the list of accomplishments is the expansion of Connie Huston Drive, a single lane road staff and visitors used to enter and exit the campus. The road has been moved slightly northward providing expanded turning and exit lanes onto the Parkway connecting to Court Avenue. A bicycle trail has been added, and the area has been enhanced by new signage and directional arrows.

As part of the Parkway excavation, attractive street lanterns were installed near the new entrance. Sevier County Utilities donated the installation costs to SMCH. The goal is to add similar lights throughout the campus, with future fund-raising efforts to focus on providing a lighted pathway around the campus.

“The excavation required SMCH to move a playground closer to the gymnasium, where it would be safer for children and youth,” stated Dr. Walt Mauldin, SMCH Executive Director. “Sidewalks and a concrete patio were installed to provide a place for outdoor activities.”

Mauldin explained that a request from the City of Sevierville spawned the interest for an additional ten-foot wide walkway, which serves as an extension to the Sevierville Greenway. Primary sections of the greenway run parallel to the Little Pigeon River adjacent to the campus.

As a part of the Parkway project, a new gazebo was built on the old ball field site. It is constructed of bridge steel, concrete, and brick, which is open on all sides. Plans for the gazebo include holding church services and special events inside the structure, which has a picturesque view of Mount LeConte. The gazebo also features an oversized, stainless steel grill.

A new Sevierville Historical Marker was installed in front of the SMCH administration building, which depicts the history of the site, which was originally Murphy Collegiate Institute and became the Church of God Home for Children in 1949. In the year 2000, the home was renamed Smoky Mountain Children’s Home. Between 1938 and 1947, the site was home to Bible Training School, which is now Lee University located in Cleveland, Tenn.

Other projects include a 350-foot brick retaining wall and landscaping, removal of an aging garage, paving of a parking lot for the residential life offices and a paved access road to the campus warehouse. Each cottage and the administration building received extensive landscaping, including new top soil, reseeding, mulch, and removal of aged trees.

Ron and Betty Ogle

“Ron and Betty Ogle of Sevierville have donated every dollar for this massive capital improvement project,” Mauldin stated. “They have such a huge heart for the Smoky Mountain Children’s Home. Both of them are wonderful gifts to this community!”

Future projects include renovation of ten residential cottages, as well as adding more lantern style lighting throughout the campus.

“The SMCH leadership team believes the best is yet to come!” Mauldin concluded.

(Source: Submitted by Dr. Pamela Kay Overbey, Special Projects Director / Executive Assistant, SMCH)

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