ACS voting on $120 million in bonds on Sept. 11

ACS Operations Coordinator Dr. Jeff Atkins drives an all-terrain vehicle on the future site of the city's new high school and athletic complex between Thompson Road and Kent Dairy Road. The city's School Board will vote on bonds for the project on Sept. 11. (File)

ACS Operations Coordinator Dr. Jeff Atkins drives an all-terrain vehicle on the future site of the city’s new high school and athletic complex between Thompson Road and Kent Dairy Road. The city’s School Board will vote on bonds for the project on Sept. 11. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – The Alabaster Board of Education is scheduled to vote on issuing $120 million in bonds to fund the construction of a new Thompson High School and renovations to the city’s existing school buildings during a Sept. 11 meeting.

The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Alabaster City Hall’s large courtroom, and is open to the public.

The Alabaster School System is looking to issue two separate series of bonds: An about $12 million taxable bond series intended to pay off the debt Alabaster City Schools assumed from Shelby County Schools during Alabaster’s separation from the county school system, and an about $108 million bond to fund school construction and renovations.

During an Aug. 20 work session, the Alabaster School Board members authorized Board President Adam Moseley to sign documents locking in interest rates on the bonds,which likely will average about 4.25 percent on the tax exempt bond and about 3.1 percent on the taxable bond.

Once the $120 million in bonds are issued, the bulk of the money will be used to purchase about 300 acres of land between Kent Dairy Road and Thompson Road and construct a 360,000-square-foot new Thompson High School and athletic complex on the land, which likely will open in 2017.

Plans also call for transforming the current TIS and Thompson Sixth Grade Center campus into the school system’s central office, alternative school and special-needs center. This would move the Sixth Grade Center into the freshman building on the current THS building.

The bonds also will help to fund already-completed drainage improvements to the parking lot behind the current TIS building and renovations – including a new pressbox and turf field – at Larry Simmons Stadium.

The Alabaster City Council voted in June to lock in the city’s 2011 penny sales tax increase for the next 30 years to help ACS secure the $120 million in bonds.

The School Board also will hold a pair of hearings on Sept. 11 to discuss the Alabaster School System’s 2015 fiscal year budget. One hearing will begin at 3 p.m. at City Hall and the second will be held during the 5:30 p.m. board meeting.