Pelham BOE closes on $9 million piece of property with hopes of building new school

Published 4:06 pm Tuesday, August 15, 2023

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By BARTON PERKINS | Staff Writer

PELHAM – On Tuesday, May 23, the Pelham City Schools Board of Education approved contracts to purchase approximately 69 acres of land to build a future school. This purchase was just finalized on Friday, Aug. 4.

The Board of Education closed on the property, totaling $9 million, near Pelham Racquet Club with the hopes of building a school in the next seven years.

PCS first began looking for new land to purchase and potentially build a new school on due to the city of Pelham’s growth rate and desire to provide their students with the best possible facilities, education and resources.

After exploring several areas over the past two years, the Pelham Board of Education honed in on the area located north of Highway 52, west of Parkview Drive and east of the Pelham Racquet Club. The final purchase involved the acquisition of contiguous property from seven different landowners in the city limits of Pelham. The property currently has several houses and was formerly a working farm.

“There are very few sites in Pelham that are both the city limits and are large enough,” Superintendent Dr. Chuck Ledbetter said. “This was a really great location in regards to all those things.”

Based on information from a demographic study conducted in late 2022, the BOE  currently projects that a secondary school will need to be built on the site. However, that decision on whether it will be a high school or middle school will be made at a later date. To properly budget and maintain fiscal stability for the school system, the timeframe for construction on the new school site is projected to begin in seven to eight years.

“We’re several years out,” Ledbetter said. “This is all preparing for the future.”

 Pelham High School currently services 1,141 students with a teacher ratio of 1:18. Potentially having an additional school will help maintain these ratios as the city of Pelham continues to expand and grow. 

“It is seven years out and a lot can change, including all of our system leadership,” Ledbetter said. “So our plans haven’t been put in place for, you know, concretely yet.”