Fuller tells Kiwanis about new high school

Shelby County Schools Superintendent Randy Fuller talks to the Helena Kiwanis Club. (Contributed)

By LAURA BROOKHART / Community Columnist

Shelby County Schools Superintendent Randy Fuller spoke to the Helena Kiwanis Club to bring the community up to date with the progress and execution of the plan funded by the school tax vote.

“Passing the tax gave us the opportunity to work with a finance company to secure bonds,” Fuller said. “In the next three weeks, securing the $75-$80 million dollar bond will be finalized.”

Fuller also said residents will soon begin seeing the system-wide marketing plan that gets the message out to public citizens, clubs and parents about the good things going on in Shelby County schools.

A year in advance of the actual tax referendum, the Capital Project Leadership Committee (including zoning, CFO and administrative leaders) began looking at data and strategies. The decisions are projected out 25 years and take into consideration the county’s growth rate and assessment of needed renovations or additions at each of the 39 county schools.

Helena High School is expected to open in 2013 with an enrollment of 950. It will be a Class 5A school, and the nominations for school colors and mascot will be taken from a survey of students and parents.

Property acquisition is being finalized and background preparation is under way, but Fuller mentioned the opening date could change if there are any “blips along the way.”

The Shelby County school system asks each community to partner with them to create the sports facilities, and Fuller offered his congratulations to the community for the foresight to build its sports complex.

Helena Middle School will also receive an additional six to eight classrooms, and Helena Elementary School will have added classrooms and parking.

Fuller added that HES is one of oldest schools in the county and has also become one of the best under Principal Mary Cooper.

Fuller also mentioned other projects given the green light — Chelsea K-5 Elementary School and Calera Middle School in the old Shelby Academy property. New school construction will be built around the old facility.

Renovations will be made at Columbiana Middle School, the library at Inverness and the auditorium at Vincent, as well as library and gym renovations at Wilsonville.

Also included are countywide air conditioning upgrades to improve energy efficiency in school buildings and bus maintenance/replacement for vehicles more than 10 years old.

“The building of a new high school will be an exciting time for this community, and I ask that each citizen support their community leaders as they move through this process,” Fuller said.

In other news, Hands Across Helena will be held Saturday, Oct. 1 at Helena Middle School. This 5K Walk is to help raise awareness and funds for suicide prevention. Registration is $25 and includes a T-shirt. Check in and walk are at 8 a.m. For more information, see CityofHelena.org.

Laura Brookhart can be reached by email at labro16@yahoo.com.