The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

June 25, 2013

Changes to Clements on track to start this fall

$5.2 million project currently under budget

By Kim West

— Changes to Clements High School are still on track to begin this fall with a new multipurpose band room, a more secure and visible front office and a revamped science lab among the upgrades.

Dr. Tom Sisk, superintendent of Limestone County Schools, has penciled in a September or October start date for about $5.2 million in renovations to the high school. The project will be completed in phases since the work will take place during school year.

The Clements overhaul, which was originally approved for $5.4 million but is currently under budget, is part of the first round of a two-phase $26.1 million capital plan approved by the Board of Education on March 5.

McKee & Associates in Montgomery is the project architect for both the Clements renovations and the new $4.2 million Ardmore High School gymnasium, which Sisk said during the June 18 meeting could break ground in July.

Lead architect Seawell McKee attended last Tuesday’s board meeting to present an overview of the site and floor plans for the Clements project. One major change will be the front of the school property, which prominently features the parking lot and includes drive-up access to the main entrance.

The renovations will feature both blond and red brick facades and will add extensive landscaping to the parking lot and remove the drive-up access, McKee said.

“We’ve now come up with a master plan for Clements High School,” McKee said. “There will be a dedicated front, and people will no longer be able to drive up to the canopy. Each (renovated) wing will require a different scope of work … we felt it was very important to have the main office visible and in front of the building, while the new multi-purpose band suite will be in the middle.”

McKee, who consulted with Clements school staff and community members before presenting the master plan, described the collaboration as a “very thought-provoking process.” He said previous work to the campus included “10 or 11 different construction projects from the 1950s to 2002.”

McKee said the school, which serves grades 6-12, would have a junior high wing for grades 7 and 8, and that two classrooms would be converted into a science lab that would also allow direct access to sixth-grade students.

Sisk said on Monday that the board will have time to review the Clements master plan, and could discuss any possible changes at the July 11 board meeting. He said bids for the Ardmore gym will be opened this Thursday.