Alabaster takes next step toward new high school

The Alabaster City School System approved surveys on a 301-acre tract of land to house a new high school. (File)

The Alabaster City School System approved surveys on a 301-acre tract of land to house a new high school. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – The Alabaster Board of Education took one of the first steps toward building a new high school off Thompson Road during its June 9 meeting.

The School Board voted unanimously during the meeting to fund a survey of the land, as well as environmental and wetland delineation studies, on an about 300-acre tract of land between Thompson Road and Kent Dairy Road.

“Before we put any kind of permanent structure on that land, we need to get a boundary survey and topographical surveys so we have those in place,” Alabaster School Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers said. “It’s something we need to move forward with this project.”

The Alabaster City School System is looking to build an about 360,000-square-foot high school and athletic complex on the currently vacant 301 acre tract of land after the School Board voted during a May 19 meeting to purchase the property.

The land is directly west of the current Thompson High School, and the new high school will offer access from Thompson Road and Kent Dairy Road, Vickers said during a May 19 interview.

The School Board is seeking a $120 million bond issue to fund the construction of the new high school, along with upgrades and renovations to other school buildings in the city.

ACS has asked the Alabaster City Council to pledge a 2011 1-cent sales tax increase for the next 30 years to help repay the debt on the $120 million bond issue. About an hour after the School Board voted to fund the surveys and studies on the land, the City Council voted to set a public hearing for June 23 to gather input on the proposed three-decade sales tax pledge before likely voting on the matter the same night.