Alabaster takes next step toward new high school

The Alabaster City School System is preparing to construct a new high school between Thompson Road and Fulton Springs Road. (File)

The Alabaster City School System is preparing to construct a new high school between Thompson Road and Kent Dairy Road. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Crews soon will begin clearing land between Thompson Road and Kent Dairy Road for a new Alabaster high school after the city’s Board of Education approved a contract with a timber-clearing company during its Dec. 8 meeting.

The School Board voted during the meeting to approve a bid from Parnell, Inc., to clear about 170 heavily wooded acres between the two roads to allow for the new high school. Through the contract, Parnell, Inc., will pay the Alabaster City School System $175,110.01 “for the exclusive right to harvest merchantable timber” on the land.

ACS voted in May to purchase more than 300 acres of currently vacant property between Thompson and Kent Dairy roads to house a 365,000-square-foot new high school and athletic facilities, which is slated to open in August 2017.

“This is basically just getting the process going. This is the first piece of the puzzle,” Alabaster School Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers said during an interview after the meeting, noting the new facilities will take up about 170 of the more than 300 acres. “We’re rolling right along.”

Vickers said after the timber is cleared, the school system will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the new school. After the groundbreaking, the school system and its engineering firm, Volkert, will unveil a site plan for the new school and athletic facilities before construction work begins.

The school system has budgeted $84.5 million for the new high school and its athletic facilities, and is being funded using a portion of the $120 million in bonds the School Board approved in September. The high school will house at least 2,000 students, Vickers said previously.