PHS, RMS planning to welcome 2,500

Published 5:52 pm Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Construction crews have been working all summer to complete a nine-classroom addition at Pelham High School. The addition is expected to be completed by October, and will give the school some much-needed breathing room, said PHS principal Bob Lavett. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Staff members at two of Pelham’s schools are making their final plans to welcome back more than 2,500 students when the first bell rings next week.

During the last full week of summer before classes resume on Aug. 11, the schools were filled with new and returning teachers rushing to prepare their classrooms for the flood of students, parents and children attending last-minute registrations and bands and sports teams preparing for the semester ahead.

“Things are going great this week. We are just doing everything we can to get ready for the kids to come back,” said Riverchase Middle School Principal Charles Smith. “We want to make sure the building and all the classrooms are ready to go when the kids get here.”

Smith said the school, which serves grades sixth-eighth, will have an enrollment of about 720 students.

While Smith said this year’s student population will be a “little higher” than last year’s, he said it will be small compared to the RMS enrollment of a few years ago.

“It was a lot higher than that before we split with Helena Middle. It is so much better now,” Smith said with a laugh.

Before RMS split with HMS in 2008, students from Pelham and Helena went to RMS. Now, Riverchase serves only students who live in Pelham.

“We are not growing as fast as some of the other cities around here. I think Pelham is just about grown out,” Smith said.

A few miles away, teachers have also been rushing to make their final preparations at Pelham High School.

Construction crews have been working all summer to complete renovations to the school’s lunchroom and construct a new nine-classroom addition on the southwest corner of the school, which likely will be completed by October, said PHS Principal Bob Lavett.

“We are really excited about the new addition. It will be a big help,” Lavett said. “The new lunchroom will be fantastic.”

This year, the school will serve about 1,800 students, which is up from last year.

“We are growing a little bit every year,” Lavett said. “Next year, we will probably grow a little more.”

PHS is scheduled to split with the new Helena high school in 2013, which will nearly split the PHS enrollment in half, Lavett said.

Despite triple-digit temperatures, the PHS marching band and RMS and PHS football teams have been putting in long hours getting ready for the upcoming football season.

“They are already back practicing,” Smith said. “They have been doing a lot of it earlier in the morning and later at night, when it’s not unbearably hot.”

Pelham’s other schools will also be holding events to familiarize students and parents with their teachers for the upcoming year.

Valley Elementary will host its Meet the Teacher Day on Aug. 9. First and second-graders can meet their teachers from 8:30-10 a.m., and kindergarteners can meet theirs from 1-2 p.m.

Valley Intermediate School will hold its Meet the Teacher Day on Aug. 10. Third-graders should arrive at 8 a.m., fourth-graders at 9 a.m. and fifth-graders at 10 a.m.