MCHS officials investigating mysterious sinkhole

A mysterious sinkhole recently appeared just behind the MCHS campus. School officials are working with structural engineers and Metro Utilities Department officials to determine the cause. (A Lynchburg Time Photo)

LOCAL NEWS — June 18 was a weird day at Moore County High School. As Principal Brad Sanders gave soon-to-be new MCHS Band Director Greg Jones a tour of the facilities, he noticed a sinkhole developing just behind the Band Building. He reported it to Director of Schools Chad Moorehead who began immediately investigating.

Sinkholes form when the ground below the surface erodes usually due to percolating water or a natural cave or void located underneath. They’re becoming increasingly common in southern, middle Tennessee with multiple sinkholes recently discovered in both Franklin and Grundy counties.

According to Director Moorehead, this is the third sinkhole to emerge near a Moore County school. Two sinkholes developed at Lynchburg Elementary during the 2019-20 school year: one located behind the LES Gym under the pavement and a second near the playground. After an investigation, school officials determined that a major water leak caused the sinkhole behind the gym. School officials never determined the cause of the playground sinkhole. Officials excavated both holes until they reached firm soil and then, the holes were both filled with stone. The one near the playground was also topped with dirt so grass could grow back.

During Monday’s Metro School Board meeting, Director Moorehead said that they were waiting to fill the sinkhole until the cause could be determined. Both the Metro Water Department and structural engineers were helping with that investigation. Director Moorehead said they recently dug the hole to determine if a cave or other void sat beneath it.

“I do have the engineers from our construction project involved although it may prove to have nothing to do with our construction process,” Director Moorehead told the board.

Local water department officials have been on site twice in recent weeks using both listening devices and camera to see if they could hear or see running water. MUD officials tested water from the sinkhole and determined that it contained level of chlorine, fluoride, and phosphorus.

Director Moorehead says the sink hole is currently roped off with caution tape and hazard cones and that school officials plan to fill it in prior to the first full day of school on August 10.•

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}