SCBOE tables motion to accept construction bid at Pelham High School

The Shelby County Board of Education talked futures at its July 15 meeting, during which the board discussed options regarding a proposed expansion to Pelham High School that would cost more than $3 million.

D. Dean and Associates, a construction firm from Columbus, Ga., quoted $2.9 million as a base bid, with a $50,000 metal door addition, for seven general use classrooms, two art rooms and one culinary arts lab. The bid also includes costs associated with a proposed cafeteria expansion.

With the addition of 18,000 square feet of classroom, the price of construction would be about $160 per square foot, a heftier price tag because of the inclusion of extra equipment such as a hood for the culinary arts lab.

When it was time to approve the bid, Dr. David Nichols began discussion by asking whether the expansions were a good idea for the community’s future.

“How much do we continue to build onto a school?” Nichols asked. “We know schools can get too large, and we have some that hare too large. It’s a matter of size and getting so large and cumbersome.”

Nichols also pointed out the board’s consideration of eventually building a high school in nearby Helena.

Vice President Steve Martin said he does see a high school in Helena in the future, but added “The foreseeable future is based on money, and Pelham students are practically parking in the next county now.”

Martin was also concerned that a local construction company, Clements Dean of Wilsonville, turned in a bid that was within 3 percent of the low bid, with a quote of $2,989,000 and the same $50,000 metal door addition.

“I’d rather spend $10,000 more for a local company and keep the tax revenue in Shelby County,” Miller said.

Superintendent Randy Fuller called PHS’s cafeteria expansion “necessary,” no matter what the future holds, and said the board would discuss long-term future plans in an upcoming five-year meeting.

Miller moved to table the discussion until more research can be done.