In 1959 the Ooltewah area was a quiet community. Ooltewah Elementary was one of several small schools in the eastern part of Hamilton County when it moved to its present location in the fall of 1959. The former site of OES was the location of the old Ooltewah High School building on Cherry Street. The school was home to grades 1 - 6, and the principal was Hazel Tallent.
When the school opened it was considered very modern for its time. All classrooms were on one level. A modern cafeteria and auditorium were combined and called a “cafetorium“. Students went on from Ooltewah Elementary to the High School for grades 7 - 12. Eventually, the system developed a middle school to house grades 6 - 8, leaving Ooltewah Elementary with students in grades K - 5, as kindergarten classes were now included.
In 1984, several self-contained Exceptional Education classes were brought to OES. These classes included a preschool CDC, a primary CDC, and two primary PMR classes.
January 3, 1989 brought a new era to the Ooltewah Community. Hamilton County Department of Education opened a new facility, Ooltewah Intermediate School.
Ooltewah Intermediate opened with 10 fourth grade classrooms and 10 fifth grade classrooms. This new school left Ooltewah elementary as a kindergarten through third grade school.
Several years later, HCDE made the decision to discontinue the intermediate school program and reorganize the elementary schools to house K - 5 grades. This decision prompted additional and /or new facilities to be built at the former Westview and Apison Elementary school locations. Funds that had been earmarked to make additions and updates to Ooltewah Elementary School were transferred to an account for Ooltewah High School’s remodeling in the fall of 1999. Ooltewah Elementary was passed over for any new construction or remodeling that would have given additional space to change back to a K - 5 school at the same time as other area elementary schools.
The school year 2000 - 2001 brought about this change to the Ooltewah community with the implementation of the decision to change the Intermediate School to a K - 5 school.
Ooltewah Elementary Exception Education classes kept space for additional classes limited, and OES remained a K - 3 school. All other elementary schools in the Ooltewah area became K - 5 schools with the opening of Wolftever Creek Elementary (formerly Ooltewah Intermediate).
The Exceptional Education classes at Ooltewah Elementary were relocated to other area schools before the opening of the 2001 - 2002 school year. This change allowed space for OES to add three fourth grade classrooms. In an effort to minimize student disruption, fifth grade classes were added at the beginning of the 2002 - 2003 school year.