Schools in Clinton and Anderson County will close early on Friday so buses can miss the traffic congestion and closed roads that are expected when President Barack Obama visits.
Dozens of intersections along the motorcade’s expected route will have to be covered, Clinton Police Chief Rick Scarbrough told WYSH Radio.
Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Biden’s wife Jill will visit Clinton manufacturer Techmer PM after the president speaks at Pellissippi State Community College in west Knox County. The visit to Clinton will be the first for a president.
The stop at Techmer PM, which manufactures additives and colors for a wide range of plastics in the Eagle Bend Industrial Park, is expected to highlight the administration’s efforts to create new, well-paying manufacturing jobs. During the stop at Pellissippi State, Obama is expected to discuss new initiatives that he will propose to help Americans go to college and get the skills they need to succeed.
WYSH Radio reported that Techmer PM issued a statement on Monday saying, “We’re excited that the president and vice president have chosen Techmer PM and Clinton, Tennessee, to see our technology.”
Local economic development officials hope that the president’s visit will help businesses continue the momentum Anderson County and Clinton have picked up over the past couple of years by attracting more skilled labor to the region and getting more companies interested in moving to the area.
Clinton City Schools will dismiss at 1 p.m. Friday.
“Since the president and vice president of the United States are coming to Clinton, several roads may be closed for security reasons, which may effect dismissal of our students at the regular time,” the school system said in a Facebook post. “A letter will go home to parents tomorrow to share this news. It’s exciting to think that the president is coming to Clinton!”
On its website, Anderson County Schools said many roads will be closed for an “extended period” on Friday, making it difficult to drive students home on buses during normal dismissal hours.
“In an effort to miss the congestion of these road closures, buses will run at our elementary school locations, Lake City Middle School, Norris Middle School, and Norwood Middle School beginning at noon,” the website announcement said. “Car rider pick-up will also begin at noon at these locations. Buses will run at our high school locations and Clinton Middle School beginning at 1 p.m., and car rider pick-up will also begin at 1 p.m. at these locations.
Preschool, Head Start, and Early Head Start will dismiss at 11 a.m. Friday. The Afterschool Program will be closed at all locations on Friday. Parents must make arrangements for their child(ren) to be picked up at dismissal time.
Few details of the visit have been released, but WYSH talked to Scarbrough on Tuesday. Here’s what he told the radio station:
“Our role is going to be: coordinate site security with the Secret Service…we’ve already met with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department and the (numerous) other local agencies that will be involved. We’ve had briefings and will continue to work throughout the week. It’s a great opportunity for Clinton to be showcased, and we are excited to do whatever we can.”
As far as the logistics of the visit, Scarbrough called it a massive undertaking with a lot of moving parts. The timing of the visit is being kept under wraps, but it is expected to happen in the early afternoon following a morning visit to Pellissippi State.
Scarbrough told WYSH that between his department and the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, dozens of intersections along the motorcade’s expected route will have to be covered in addition to whatever the Oak Ridge Police Department will have to cover. Preparation, meetings, and briefings will continue throughout the week, but Scarbrough said that despite the logistical hassles of a presidential visit, it will be worth it because “just the idea that the president of the United States has chosen to come to Clinton is an honor for us.”
The visit is part of a week-long, cross-country tour to promote presidential policies on housing, economic development, and education. The president also plans trips to Detroit and Phoenix this week before ending his week in Tennessee.
Separately, Anderson County Schools said its buses will also be running two hours late on Thursday, January 8, due to extreme cold weather.
“Schools will open at regular time on Thursday, and teachers and staff members will be working their regular schedules…parents may drop their child(ren) off at school at their regular school time,” the announcement said. “Students who ride a bus will be picked up at their individual bus stop two hours later than normal. (Example: If a student is usually picked up at 7:05 a.m., on Thursday they will be picked up at their regular bus stop at 9:05 a.m.)