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The City of Oak Ridge has opened the bidding period for two major projects: the new Oak Ridge Preschool with Scarboro Park Improvements and the new Oak Ridge Senior Center. Interested parties must submit bids before the deadline early next month. Studio Four Design, Inc., out of Knoxville is the architectural firm chosen to design both buildings.

Architectural rendering of new Oak Ridge Preschool (click photo to view and download plans).

The new preschool will be a single-story facility of approximately 33,000 square feet located on Carver Avenue. The build site is inside Scarboro Park, a roughly 10-acre parcel. The project includes improvements to the adjacent park area such as lighted basketball/tennis courts, a baseball field, a public pavilion, green space, and a walking trail.

Architectural rendering of new Oak Ridge Senior Center (click photo to view and download plans).

The current senior center is temporarily operating out of the Civic Center's Recreation Building. The new senior center will be built next door, just to the west of the Recreation Center. The single-story, approximately 11,000 square foot facility will overlook part of A.K. Bissell Park. Plans include a large kitchen, craft and exercise rooms, billiards parlor, lounge, and other common space.

Interested subcontractors are also encouraged to fill out the online vendor registration. Bids for the Oak Ridge Senior Center project must be received by the City of Oak Ridge Finance Department no later than 2 p.m. on Tuesday, October 2, 2018. Bids for the Oak Ridge Preschool project must be received no later than 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 2.

"A wide range of services will be needed to complete these major projects in Oak Ridge," explained City Manager Mark Watson. "Interested companies can review all available plans and bid documents through the principal architect's website and the City's website."

Details on bid requirements and information on how to view and download the architectural plans are available online. Additional questions can be directed to the City's Purchasing Manager, Lyn Majeski, at (865) 425-1819.
The new Peace Pavilion for the Oak Ridge International Friendship Bell was dedicated in a beautiful ceremony on Thursday, September 20, at the Bell's new site in A.K. Bissell Park. That evening, the sound of the bell resonated for the first time from its new location, a pavilion designed to project harmony, stability, innovation, and peace.

Among those taking part in the dedication ceremony were City of Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch, City Manager Mark Watson, and Hiroyuki Kobayashi, Consul-General of Japan in Nashville, as well as Pat Postma and Alan Tatum, co-chairs of the International Friendship Bell Citizens' Advisory Committee. An ensemble from the Oak Ridge Civic Music Association provided music.

We are pleased to say it was an amazing turnout. Thanks to everyone who attended and those who worked so hard to make this project happen. More than $800,000 was raised for the Peace Pavilion, with the first contributions coming from Oak Ridge's sister city of Naka, Japan, and from the Girl Scouts Oak Ridge Service Unit, which has established friendships with Girl Scouts in Naka.

The bell was created for Oak Ridge's 50th birthday, at the recommendation of Shigeko Uppuluri and her late husband Ram Uppuluri, and has been installed in its new Peace Pavilion during Oak Ridge's 75th anniversary, another milestone event. It will now bring its message of international peace and friendship to the thousands of visitors expected at the Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Oak Ridge.

In case you weren't able to make it to the event, you can also watch news coverage of the Peace Pavilion Dedication from WBIR Channel 10, watch a Facebook Live video of the first ringing of the bell, or read the original City News article announcing the dedication event.

Work continues on the pavilion with gardens and other features to be installed soon.
The Oak Ridge Fire Department ( ORFD), Oak Ridge Police Department ( ORPD) and Oak Ridge Neighborhood Watch Program ( ORNWP) are teaming up to host a Fire & Crime Prevention Celebration this year. The date is set for Saturday, October 6, 2018.

Everyone is invited to participate and support this free event, which combines the police department's annual National Night Out and the fire department's Fire Prevention Parade into one big community celebration. 

Goals of the Fire & Crime Prevention Celebration include:
  • Celebrating the partnership between the community and the police and fire departments
  • Increasing awareness of fire, crime, violence, and drug prevention efforts
  • Generating support for local anti-crime programs and fire prevention initiatives
  • Providing information to help create a more sustainable environment
  • Generating interest in leading a healthier lifestyle
  • Demonstrating fire and crime prevention skills, safety techniques, and wellness exercises
  • Promoting neighborhood unity

The event will kick off with a parade at 11 a.m. starting at ORFD Fire Station #3 on Tuskegee Drive and ending at A.K. Bissell Park. The celebration in the park will start at 12 p.m. with opening ceremonies. The event will also feature games, food, emergency services equipment displays, music, bounce houses, safety information booths, and police/fire demonstrations. The celebration is scheduled to wrap up at 3 p.m.

Line-up for the parade will begin at 10 a.m. Click here to register  your fire engine or emergency vehicle.  Questions can be directed to the Oak Ridge Fire Department at (865) 425-3520 or the Oak Ridge Police Department at (865) 425-3504.
The American Museum of Science and Energy ( AMSE) is holding a grand opening event on October 18 to welcome visitors to its new location at Main Street Oak Ridge. 

The new 18,000-square-foot space includes a newly-designed exhibit gallery featuring state-of-the-art interactive exhibits and hands-on activities, as well as a lecture hall and classroom facilities.

AMSE is planning a multi-phase opening to ensure a smooth transition and quality experience for museum staff, stakeholders, and the public.  

On October 1, 2018, AMSE will open to the public on a limited schedule, Monday through Friday from 9am - 5pm (closed weekends). This leads up to AMSE's grand opening event on October 18, 2018. Full public operating hours will resume after the grand opening. DOE Public Bus Tours will begin at the new museum starting October 1, 2018.

The Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Department will host the 2018 Children's Halloween Party on Friday, October 26, from 6pm until 8:30pm. This annual event will be attended by hundreds of children and their parents. Activities will be planned for every room in the Civic Center and a hay ride will be offered in A.K. Bissell Park, weather permitting.

Businesses and organizations are invited to sponsor a game booth for the event. Sponsors will supply two to four volunteers to operate the game throughout the event. The Recreation and Parks department will provide the games and prizes unless sponsors wish to provide their own. Games should be appropriate for children age 10 and under. Applications can be emailed or picked up at the Civic Center front desk.

Additional adult volunteers are needed to assist with other activities. Persons wishing to work at the event should call the Civic Center at (865) 425-3450. On the night of the event, volunteers should report to the Civic Center by 5:30pm and plan to stay until 9pm. The first 50 volunteers to sign up will receive an event T-shirt. A pizza snack will be served to all volunteers immediately following the event.

For additional information, send an email to
The Oak Ridge Public Library is seeking new interviews as part of the Center for Oak Ridge Oral History (COROH) project. More than 800 oral history entries have already been logged, but additional stories are needed from those who experienced Oak Ridge as children.

COROH's main focus has been the Manhattan Project era of Oak Ridge's history, from late 1942 to the end of World War II in August 1945. Interviewees are asked about what it was like to live in the "Secret City." As the project continues, staff and volunteers will be looking to the second generation of Oak Ridgers in order to record their memories as well.

With the help of the U.S. Department of Energy and several other advisory organizations, COROH collects and archives these irreplaceable stories. Hundreds of interviews, panel discussions, lectures, home movies, and professional videos are available to the public via the website under the "Departments and Services" tab. Most interviews have audio and video, but transcripts are also available.

The Center for Oak Ridge Oral History is housed inside the Oak Ridge Room at Oak Ridge Public Library. If you have any questions or would like to provide an oral history, please contact Julie Forkner or Jordan Reed at (865) 425-3455, or visit the library anytime between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can also find COROH on Facebook.

COROH was recently featured on WATE 6 on Your Side. 
The K-25 Overlook will soon be reopening as a much larger and nicer visitor center that also will have a new purpose. 

Owner John McCormick, Vice President of Bionomics, purchased the 160-acre property known as Happy Valley through an auction at the end of 2016. The overlook on SR 58 was part of the purchase, but needed building repairs and updates to the historical information inside. 

In 2017, McCormick partnered with Pam May, Vice President of the Roane Alliance, who reached out to local historians, the National Park Service (NPS), the U.S. Department of Energy and Explore Oak Ridge to discuss the future of the overlook.

"The idea to expand the overlook into a visitor center and recreational hub came from the NPS in one of the early meetings," said May, "and that aligned perfectly with what John had envisioned - to create trails and open spaces that people could enjoy while also learning Happy Valley's history through its landmarks still evident on the property."

The overlook will reopen sometime in the fall, with triple the inside space - from 225 square feet to approximately 700. The space will also have two entrances, both ADA-compliant, air conditioning/heat and LED lighting. Designsensory in Knoxville will design the interior, creating a space where visitors can learn about the Manhattan Project National Historical Park; the story of Happy Valley, a "city" of 15,000 once located next door to the overlook; and the recreational opportunities that surround the overlook, such as trails and boat launches.

The City of Oak Ridge Stormwater Management Program, in partnership with the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee (CAC), has announced a collaboration with AmeriCorps members for the fourth consecutive year. Public Works Department staff are excited to welcome Haley Brinkley and Sarah Benham to the team.

Haley and Sarah will help teach watershed lessons in Oak Ridge Schools and will partner with community leaders and local organizations to hold water quality events and activities. They will continue the efforts of previous AmeriCorps teams by supporting successful partnerships and programs, including working with the Girl Scouts and managing the Adopt-A-Stream program.

In addition, they will assist the City's Engineering Division with permanently mapping local stormwater infrastructure. They will be instrumental in helping address environmental concerns in order to reach the permit requirements mandated by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a new Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) program.

Haley Brinkley moved to the Knoxville area from Raleigh, North Carolina, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering from North Carolina State University (NCSU). Haley interned with Bohler Engineering, Shurtape Technologies, LLC, and S&ME, Inc. Upon graduation, she gained valuable experience as an Engineer-in-Training at Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc., where she helped design stormwater systems for public roads.

Sarah Benham moved to Knoxville from Corvallis, Oregon, where she attended Oregon State University. She recently graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Sciences, with an option in Resources, Conservation and Sustainability. Previously, Sarah worked for City of Corvallis Parks and Recreation where she planned community events. She is eager to bring her experience to Oak Ridge to get the community involved in the stormwater program.

CAC AmeriCorps has been a program with the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee since 1994. CAC AmeriCorps works with many partners in the region, including other municipal stormwater programs and environmental organizations. The primary goal is to provide environmental conservation services through hands-on field work and education in many different areas, including water quality, recycling, and other sustainability efforts.

More information can be found on the Stormwater Management Program's website.
Oak Ridge Fire Department Fire Marshal Travis Solomon salutes after tolling the bell in a ceremony at the Worlds Fair Park Amphitheater for the 17th Anniversary 9-11 Remembrance Ride.  (Photo: Saul Young, Knoxville News Sentinel)

Hundreds of motorcyclists and first responders gathered at World's Fair Park in Knoxville on Sunday, September 9, for the 17th annual 9/11 Remembrance Ride organized by the East Tennessee chapter of the Blue Knights, a national law enforcement motorcycle club. ORFD Fire Marshal Travis Solomon can be seen above participating in the ceremony.

Pictured (left to right) are Firefighter Brad Bittinger, Firefighter Gage Whitman, Captain Brandon Payne, and Firefighter Shay West.

Oak Ridge Firefighters participated in the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb in Nashville earlier this month. Firefighters wore full turnout gear and climbed 110 floors to recreate the ch allenges faced by FDNY firefighters on the morning of September 11, 2001. Participants are given a photo and name of a FDNY firefighter as they pay tribute and climb in their memory.
The Oak Ridge Police Department offered an educational "Ask an Officer" session on personal safety at the Oak Ridge Civic Center on Tuesday, August 28. 

ORPD Sergeant Shannah Newman and Investigator Wendy Zolkowski provided tips for attendees on how to protect their homes and themselves. Topics of discussion included: crime stats in Oak Ridge, prevention methods, security measures, and vehicle/personal safety.

This special program was sponsored by the Oak Ridge Senior Center, but was open to participants of any age.  Thanks to all who attended! We hope you took away some important lessons and information on how to stay safe.
On Friday, August 24, 2018, at approximately 12:38 a.m., the Oak Ridge Fire Department responded to a fire alarm caused by water flow from sprinklers at NHC Healthcare on Laboratory Road.

The first unit on scene reported that an employee saw fire coming from a clothes dryer and then saw water flow in the dryer area. The engine company controlled the water from the sprinkler head, closed gas and disconnected power from all three dryers. No injuries were reported and no fire damage was noted in or around the dryer. Fire department personnel also mitigated the water from the sprinkler head activation. The facility was back to normal operation within a few hours.

This was the second incident worked by the Oak Ridge Fire Department in just 24 hours that involved the successful use of a life-saving device.

On Thursday, August 23, firefighters responded to a house fire on East Drive where a smoke alarm likely saved the resident's life, waking him up in the middle of the night so he could escape the home safely. In Friday's incident, the activation of the sprinkler system inside the assisted living facility helped extinguish the fire before it could spread.

The Oak Ridge Fire Department would like to remind everyone that both smoke alarms and fire sprinkler systems are instrumental in increasing your chances of surviving a fire. Sprinkler systems can be installed in your home just like they are in commercial settings.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, having working smoke alarms and a working home fire sprinkler system increases your chance of surviving a fire by 80%. It's also important to note that all sprinklers do not activate at once. This scenario may be common in movies and TV shows, but it isn't true for home fire sprinkler systems. Only the sprinkler closest to the fire activates. Ninety percent of the time one sprinkler contains the fire.

For more information on these safety devices and how you can prevent fires, please contact the Oak Ridge Fire Department at (865) 425-3520.
join_our_team_sign.jpg The City is currently accepting applications for the following positions:
  • Recreation Assistant
  • School Crossing Guard
  • Electric Line Technician (Lineman)
Please note that closing dates vary by position and applications must be submitted by the deadline to be considered.

Interested applicants can view all current job openings, position descriptions and learn how to apply by visiting the Employment section of our website.
June 4th marked the kick off of ORNL Federal Credit Union's free summer music series, the Summer Sessions! We've seen a great turnout in A.K. Bissell Park for all the events so far. Thanks to all who attended!

It may officially be fall, but the Summer Sessions aren't over yet... A final concert will be held on Saturday, October 6.


All concerts will be held outdoors at the pavilion in Bissell Park, 1401 Oak Ridge Turnpike in Oak Ridge, and are free to the public.

Bring your lawn chairs and your friends and family for an evening of free Americana roots music. A special thanks to WDVX for their support of this event and bringing music to Oak Ridge.
The Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Department is sponsoring the 13th Annual Memory Magic Scrapbook event at the Oak Ridge Civic Center on Friday, October 12, and Saturday, October 13, 2018.

Online registration is still open. Walk-in registration will only be taken on the weekend of the event beginning at 8 a.m.

Friday will include vendors and a crop area. Saturday will include vendors, a crop area, an event bag, prize drawings, and snacks. The crop area will be open to registered participants only. Cropping will begin at 8 a.m. each day and close at 10 p.m. both evenings. The cost to crop is $10 for "No Frills" Friday and $30 for Saturday.

Vendors will open by 9 a.m. each day and include home party businesses, scrapbook stores and general craft stores from all over the region. The vendor area is open to the general public for shopping from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is open to paid participants only after 6 p.m.

For more information, call the Civic Center front desk at (865) 425-3450, visit the Memory Magic Scrapbook Event page online or send an email to
First grade students at Glenwood Elementary and their art teacher, Jon Purtill, were recognized during a special morning assembly on September 7th. 

They helped create a beautiful mural that is now painted on an outdoor wall at the ORNL Federal Credit Union main office. 

Credit union representatives honored the amazing artistic talents of these students by presenting a prize to the group -- $100 for the team and $500 for their school's art program.

The ORNLFCU Community Art & Mural Program launched in the spring. It's an open competition for Oak Ridge Schools students to submit mural designs in three age groups: K-4th grade, 5-8th grade and 9-12th grade.

One winner from each category is then selected by a panel. Local artist Bryan Wilkerson, who helped develop the program with art educators Jim Dodson and Tristy Berryhill, painted the murals.

The middle and high school student winners, Chatelaine McBroom of Robertsville and Bryce Guzman of ORHS, will be honored along with their art teachers in upcoming presentations. Congrats to all!


Story by Cadet Petty Officer 2nd Class Bradley Heun

On August 18, the ORHS NJROTC Wildcat Company, being one of only two JROTC units in East Tennessee, boarded a bus at 6:30 AM and headed to Pigeon Forge. Once there, they assembled to participate in the Welcome Home Veterans parade being held to remember and thank Veterans of the Vietnam War.  This spectacle was a significant step for both Oak Ridge's NJROTC program and for Oak Ridge as a whole.

Although it has been 45 years since the last Vietnam veterans returned home from service, there is still an internal and external turmoil present clouding the war and those involved. Upon arrival home, there was present a post-war disillusionment; communities spat upon their returning soldiers as opposed to welcoming them home, due to their involvement in the war. Already dealing with the burdens of what had happened in Vietnam; these veterans were presented with an America that furthered this weight on the mind.

Despite the forecast of rain and the humidity lingering in the air, a sizeable group of cadets gathered to show support for our veterans. Of them were Cadet Chief Petty Officer Lillie Mullins and Cadet Seaman Elizabeth O'Toole.

Both cadets shared an interest corresponding to the well-being of the veterans who returned from Vietnam: "Marching in the parade gave me the chance to show my support in honoring the Vietnam veterans," Elizabeth stated. "I feel like it made them feel special and appreciated."

A story told by Mickey Vickery of the Veterans of Foreign Wars to our cadets comes to mind here. He told of how he had told a veteran, "Welcome home," and how a statement as simple as that brought tears to a man's eyes.

When Lillie was asked of the meaning behind the march, she reflected, "I think the parade [made] the veterans feel like they didn't sacrifice themselves for no reason," as one of many feelings she expressed.

Wildcat Company's involvement in the parade is a display that our community has not forgotten the aforementioned disrespect afforded upon our veterans in 1973. Programs like NJROTC shine light and spread awareness on these historical events, and in turn ensure our next generations will continue to learn and grow from the ideals that make our nation great.

Chief Nicholls, the Naval Science Instructor at Oak Ridge High School, believes this was "an awesome opportunity for our cadets to sacrifice a few hours on Saturday to honor the brave men and women, who served so valiantly during the Vietnam War." He parts with a hopeful message regarding the aspirations of our NJROTC program. "Veterans of all wars and conflicts," he says, "rest assured, the cadets from Oak Ridge High School NJROTC support you and eagerly await the privilege to live up to the high standards you have set for all Americans to follow."

For more information or additional insight into our activities, please visit our website at
The road reconstruction project along Tennessee Avenue continues and is expected to be complete by mid-November.

The contractor's (Adams and Sons, Inc.) notice to proceed was effective May 21, 2018. Road reconstruction will include repaving and some concrete work. The concrete work will include some handicap curb ramps, curbing and an area of roadway behind the hospital's existing loading dock.

The contractor will make every effort to maintain local access; however, total closure of portions of the road requiring detours will be necessary. When crews and equipment move from one location to another, the contractor and city personnel onsite will advise local businesses as traffic patterns change. The affected portion of Tennessee Avenue will be a smooth surface when all work is complete.

Drivers, pedestrians and cyclists are urged to use extreme care and caution when traveling in and around these sections of roadway. The Public Works Department strongly recommends that drivers make plans to take alternate routes. We apologize for any inconvenience the closures may cause and appreciate everyone's patience and cooperation during this time. Please note that all construction work is subject to change based on such unknowns as weather, equipment, and access issues. 
Additional project questions or concerns can be communicated to the contractor's onsite superintendent or foreman, or City personnel onsite. You may also contact Public Works via email at or by calling (865) 425-1875.

City of Oak Ridge | |
200 South Tulane Ave
Oak Ridge, TN 37830