ACS sets timeline on 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 Fulton Springs Road. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Crews likely will start construction on a new high school building in Alabaster in August after the city’s school system bids out the project in mid-March, Board of Education members said during a Feb. 23 work session.

During the work session, Seawall McKee with the McKee and Associates architectural firm gave School Board members an update on the new high school, which is set to open to students in fall 2017.

Crews with the Parnell timberland company likely will finish clearing land for the new high school by mid-March, which will clear way for the school system to bid out the school building project, McKee said.

ACS voted in May 2014 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.

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, Alabaster School Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers said previously.

During the Feb. 23 work session, McKee displayed preliminary design drawings for the new school, which will be a two-story building surrounded by a four-lane road. The Alabama Department of Education has already approved the preliminary schematics for the building, McKee said.

“We continue to meet and refine with Dr. Vickers and the users of your (current) building,” McKee told the board members.

As presented during the work session, the new school will include several specialized facilities, such as an engineering lab and an industrial maintenance lab, a large gymnasium and an attached indoor workout facility.

“We are building really the first comprehensive high school that has been built around here in some time,” Vickers said. “I hope every freshman who walks into that rotunda will connect with something big. Because if they connect with something big, we’ve accomplished our goal of preparing them for the next step.”