ACS approves second phase of new high school

The Alabaster Board of Education voted during a May 25 meeting to approve a bid for phase two of the city's new high school project. (File)

The Alabaster Board of Education voted during a May 25 meeting to approve a bid for phase two of the city’s new high school project. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Alabaster Board of Education members said they are still on track to open the city’s new high school in the fall of 2017 after approving a bid for the second of four construction phases for the project during a special-called May 25 meeting.

School Board members voted unanimously during the meeting to award an about $14 million bid from the Wilsonville-based Clements Dean Building Company. The bid is the second major bid awarded for the city’s new high school, and will include the construction of meeting spaces, the arena, indoor gym and other components of the school’s main academic building.

The School Board also voted during the meeting to award a separate $93,050 bid to the Alabaster Water Board to relocate a water main along Thompson Road to serve the new school.

In total, phase two of the project will include about 82,000 square feet of the school.

In January, School Board members voted to accept an about $43.4 million bid from the Birmingham-based Argo Building Company for phase one of the construction project. The first phase covered construction of the majority of the main academic building, which will include the cafeteria, media center, special education facility and space for the school’s career technical program.

Alabaster School Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers said the board still must vote on two more bid packages to complete the project. Phase three will include the school’s fine arts building, and phase four will include the athletic facilities surrounding the school.

“I think we had a very good price for phase two, especially after having some cost-saving discussions (with the bidder),” Vickers said. “This is one more step toward making our new high school a reality. Everything is still on track for the school to open in the fall of 2017.”

In November 2015, the School Board voted to reject two bids for the new high school project after “the bids were not competitive,” Vickers said.

After rejecting the bids in November 2015, the Alabaster City School System broke the new high school project into four smaller bids.

“We have a fiduciary responsibility to spend the taxpayers’ money wisely,” BOE member Ty Quarles said. “We want to make sure we get the absolute best for our money.”

Once the entire project is completed, the school facilities will be about 385,000 square feet, will initially be built to house 2,000 students and will be constructed with future expansions in mind.

The school will include 74 classrooms, 14 science lab classrooms, a 1,250-seat auditorium, a 150-seat black box theater, a 32,269-square-foot career academy and a 100-seat lecture hall.

School Board President Adam Moseley and board member Derek Henderson praised Vickers for working to make the school’s 2017 opening date a reality.

“It’s wonderful that we are still keeping it on schedule, even though we broke up the bids,” Henderson said.

“We’ve still got a few more steps to go, but we are one step toward making this a reality,” Moseley said.