New wing brings smooth start at PHS

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

A new nine-classroom wing at Pelham High School has made a “huge difference” at the school since classes started on Aug. 20, PHS Principal Bob Lavett said.

Crews worked throughout the summer to have the new wing ready for the first day of school to help ease overcrowding at the school. Although construction originally was scheduled to be completed on the new wing in October 2011, the Shelby County School Board in November 2011 terminated its contract with the Columbus, Ga.-based D. Dean and Associates because of construction delays.

In April, the Shelby County Board of Education announced the Pelham-based Williford Orman construction company had taken over the project, and was working to have the new classrooms ready before the first day of school this semester.

“The start of the year has been great. It has been a huge improvement to our school, and we are extremely proud of it,” Lavett said. “It’s already been uplifting for our parents, our staff and our students.”

Lavett said crews are finishing some painting and a few other finishing touches on the wing, which features a stone façade and “drastically” transforms the school’s main entrance area.

Eight of the wing’s rooms are serving as regular classrooms, and the other is a “state-of-the-art” home economics room featuring a full kitchen, Lavett said.

Shelby County Schools Superintendent Randy Fuller previously said the new home economics room could be used to house a culinary arts institute as part of the system’s “My Future” program. The My Future program is designed to prepare students for life after high school, and will be expanding into all county high schools over the next several years.

This year, PHS has an enrollment of about 1,815 students. The enrollment is expected to be cut in half when Helena High School opens its doors in a couple of years.