Site confirmed for new Pelham elementary school

The Pelham Board of Education approved the purchase of a property off of County Road 52 for the construction of a new elementary school during an Aug. 4 special-called meeting. (Contributed)

The Pelham Board of Education approved the purchase of a property off of County Road 52 for the construction of a new elementary school during an Aug. 4 special-called meeting. (Contributed)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—The Pelham Board of Education approved the purchase of land for a new elementary school during an Aug. 4 special-called meeting.

The BOE acquired a “roughly 20-acre property” from Oak Mountain Business Park for $1.7 million, as about half of the property was donated by the owners, Pelham City Council President Rick Hayes explained.

The property is located off of County Road 52, east of the tank farm, Board of Education President Rick Rhoades confirmed.

“This will be the location of the proposed new elementary school,” Pelham City Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Coefield said during the Aug. 4 meeting.

Although other properties were considered, Hayes said this 20-acre parcel was chosen due to its “favorable” location and good traffic flow.

“We’re currently working on other properties that will compliment this property,” Coefield said in a post-meeting interview, but he stressed “this is the main piece of property we will have for the school.”

Coefield confirmed preliminary work on placing and designing the elementary school has already begun, but he added faculty and staff will have input in the design.

“They’ll get their chance to make sure we don’t mess this up,” Coefield said.

Building plans call for a new kindergarten through fifth grade school to be built on the newly acquired property, which will be the “new elementary school on the east side of I-65,” Coefield said. Valley Elementary School will be renovated and will house a kindergarten through fifth grade “elementary on the western side,” of I-65. Riverchase Middle School will be moved into the more centrally-located facility currently housing Valley Intermediate School, Coefield explained.

“We have some land, now let’s get a school built there,” Rhoades said.