Coefield shares plans for new elementary, middle school  

By the 2017-2018 school year, Pelham City Schools consist of Pelham Ridge Elementary, Pelham Oaks Elementary and Pelham Park Middle school serving K-8 students. (Reporter Photo / Neal Wagner)

By the 2017-2018 school year, Pelham City Schools consist of Pelham Ridge Elementary, Pelham Oaks Elementary and Pelham Park Middle school serving K-8 students. (Reporter Photo / Neal Wagner)

By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer

PELHAM— This time next year, elementary school students will not be returning to Valley Elementary School. Instead, those students will be the first to attend Pelham Ridge and Pelham Oaks elementary schools.

Pelham City Schools has already broken ground on Pelham Ridge Elementary, a 120,000-square-foot building with 45 classrooms, and Superintendent Dr. Scott Coefield said citizens should expect to see structures in the air very soon.

Located off Applegate Parkway, Pelham Ridge is designed to accommodate 125 children for each grade kindergarten through fifth grade. Coefield said they are excited to see the construction progress.

“We think this will really help parents and our busing situation,” he said. “It’s going to shorten bus routes and keep traffic from having to navigate County Road 52 over I-65, which we think that’s a really big plus.”

Construction is scheduled to be completed about one month before the 2016-2017 school year begins, giving them a little time to get moved in and situated before welcoming students.

Pelham Ridge will be one of two K-5 elementary schools in Pelham, the other being Valley Intermediate that will become Pelham Oaks Elementary School. Coefield said they will begin zoning for each elementary school this year and notify everyone in the spring.

With one project finishing up, Pelham City Schools is looking to its next project: Pelham Park Middle School. Coefield said they are currently designing the school and determining what the inside will consist of as far as classrooms counts and square footage.

“It’s exciting. Building schools is something you really only get one chance to do,” Coefield said. “I’m fortunate that I’ve done several building projects. The thing is to make sure you get it right. You just have to be very detailed. You have to start at the beginning and you have to walk through every part of the building and ask questions.”

He said construction projects like this are usually an 18-month process. They plan to break ground in early 2016, so they are ready to move in for 2017-2018 school year.

“I think that when we are finished, everything is going to be more centralized,” Coefield said. “Really and truly there are going to be three new schools that serve K-8.”