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The Knox County Schools to receive athletic and academic gift from the Haslam family and Pilot Flying J

Date: 12/9/2015
News Release Number: 15-130
The Knox County Schools will receive a significant gift from the Haslam family and Pilot Flying J to refurbish and modernize the football fields at the district’s 13 high schools over a 36-month period. The project is set to break ground in April 2016. Included in the gift will be an investment in academic support for the high schools based on proposals from each of the school principals.

“We are humbled by the generosity of Pilot Flying J and the Haslam family,” said Dr. Jim McIntyre, Superintendent of the Knox County Schools. “This $10 million commitment is a tremendous opportunity to provide significant enhancements to high school academics, while also recognizing that athletics play an important role in the development of the whole student, and in the high school experience.”

Thirteen high schools will have artificial turf fields installed and other field improvements to allow for a variety of high school athletics to be played year round, as well as the hosting of community events. Five high schools (Austin East, Bearden, Gibbs, Halls and South Doyle) with tracks that are currently due to be replaced will also receive necessary enhancements as a part of the field renovation. The Knox County Board of Education and the Knox County Commission will be asked to vote to receive the gift at their respective meetings in early spring.

The construction schedule will be developed soon. The order in which the fields will be built will be determined on Thursday, December 10, with a live drawing between area high schools during the show, "Fields of Dreams, A Celebration of Champions,” with Mark Packer on WVLT-TV at 7:30 p.m. EST.

“The Haslam family is proud to call Knoxville both our home and the headquarters for our company," said Will Haslam, Pilot Flying J. "We are excited about the many potential uses of these new artificial turf fields for a variety of different sports and community events through all seasons. It is a privilege for us to make this gift to Knox County students and student-athletes in honor of my grandfather, James A. Haslam II, and the more than 1,200 Pilot Flying J team members who live and raise their families here."

“This donation will help give our schools a great opportunity to become even more competitive in both academics and athletics,” said Jim Haslam II, founder and chairman of Pilot Flying J. “Athletics are an important part of the high school experience and this will help local students for many years to come. Our family holds a special place for academics and athletics in our hearts as both are important to developing youth and inspiring future leaders.”

Pilot Flying J is a strong supporter of better education at all levels. In addition to support for local schools, Pilot Flying J and the Haslam family have supported higher education, primarily through leading donations to the University of Tennessee

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About Pilot Flying J
Pilot Flying J, the largest operator of travel centers and travel plazas in North America, is committed to making life better for professional drivers. Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, Pilot Flying J has more than 650 retail locations, 52 Goodyear Commercial Tire and Service Centers (Wingfoot) and 44 Boss Shops, all of which accept MyRewards cards for Pilot Flying J’s loyalty program. The Pilot Flying J network provides drivers with access to more than 70,000 parking spaces for trucks, 4,800 showers and more than 4,400 diesel lanes offering Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) at the pump. Pilot Flying J is currently ranked No. 7 on Forbes' list of America's Largest Private Companies. Visit for more information.
Point of Contact at Knox County Schools are
Melissa Ogden, 594-1905 or
Abbey Harris, 594-2972, or
Excellence for All Children
Twitter: @knoxschools