Alabaster takes next steps toward building new school

The Alabaster School Board is moving forward with the process of building a new Thompson High School and renovating the current THS building, pictured. (File)

The Alabaster School Board is moving forward with the process of building a new Thompson High School and renovating the current THS building, pictured. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

The Alabaster Board of Education took a few more steps toward constructing a new high school and making major renovations at the city’s existing school buildings during a brief Feb. 26 meeting.

During the meeting, the board voted unanimously to hire Jim Birchall with the Jones Walker law office to serve as the School Board’s bond attorney during a possible upcoming bond issue for future construction and renovation projects.

“They are very familiar with new startup systems, and they will ensure we are able to present to Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s in a positive manner,” Alabaster School Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers said.

As the bond attorney, Birchall will represent Alabaster City Schools as it seeks to issue more than $100 million in bonds to fund the construction of a 330,000-square-foot new high school and athletic facilities and renovations to the current Thompson High School and Thompson Intermediate School buildings.

During the meeting, the School Board also voted to allow Vickers to spend up to $20,000 without prior School Board approval. Vickers previously was allowed to spend up to $10,000 without prior board approval.

Vickers said he still plans to bring all expenses to the board, and said the increase in the spending cap will help “things to run more smoothly” as the school system begins the construction and renovation projects.

“There will not be anything we won’t still bring back (to the board), we just may already have the ball rolling,” Vickers said.

School Board President Adam Moseley said the move will keep the School Board from having an excessive number of special-called meetings to vote on funding matters.

“With all we’ve got coming up, this will save a lot of time,” Moseley said.

The Feb. 26 meeting came a little more than a week after the School Board voted to enter into construction and renovation project-related agreements with the Keller Williams realty company, the Frazier Lanier investment company, the Volkert engineering firm and enter into a contract with the McKee and Associates architecture firm.