PCS gets “ready for day one”

On July 1, Pelham City Schools assumed ownership of academic buildings and property. School officials confirmed work is being done to ready the facilities for the first of school. (Contributed)

On July 1, Pelham City Schools assumed ownership of academic buildings and property. School officials confirmed work is being done to ready the facilities for the first of school. (Contributed)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—As of July 1, Pelham City Schools assumed ownership of all Pelham school buildings, including Pelham High School, Riverchase Middle School, Valley Intermediate School and Valley Elementary School, along with all materials, equipment and supplies from Shelby County Schools.

“We’ve been working for about a month now,” Pelham City Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Coefield said, noting he is excited to begin “official business” within the school facilities and to set a “normal routine.” Coefield officially began his tenure as superintendent on June 1, and on June 5, the Pelham Board of Education approved a separation agreement from Shelby County Schools.

The immediate focus is on getting the interior of the schools fixed, painted, thoroughly cleaned and “ready for day one” on Aug. 7, Coefield explained. Landscaping work will also be done to exteriors and grounds as well, Board of Education President Rick Rhoades said during a June 30 Board of Education meeting.

“We want the students to see a difference,” Coefield said. “We’re spending a little money to make sure there’s a new, fresh feel.”

These immediate fixes are just the beginning of plans for “reshaping and redoing of our schools,” Rhoades said, explaining there would be “geographical” changes made and “buildings will be built.”

On May 12, the Pelham Board of Education hired HOAR Program Management to guide and oversee future construction, and Coefield said they have been meeting weekly to plan.

Although an exciting time for Pelham City Schools, Rhoades cautioned patience in the process. As of July 1, email, phone lines and websites for Pelham schools are down while new network and technology systems are put in place.

“Communications are down indefinitely right now,” Technology Coordinator Derrick Waddell said. “We hope to have everything up and running by July 18,” but Waddell said that is a “soft” deadline.

Until communication systems are running, Waddell said the school system’s main means of communication will be through Pelham City Schools website, Pelhamcityschools.com, which he will continue to update.

“It should be a cause for great excitement, but it should also be a cause for patience,” Rhoades said of the “massive technological undertaking,” assuring those gathered at the June 30 meeting that the end product will be a “much much better technology set up than we’ve ever had.”