The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

October 23, 2013

County school projects in progress

By Kim West

— The first phase of a $27.1 million capital plan is in progress for Limestone County Schools, with a possible upgrade to the already-approved classroom additions for Creekside Elementary School.

The change to the district project plan is pending further discussion with the seven-member Board of Education, Superintendent Dr. Tom Sisk said Tuesday.

Sisk said he would discuss multiple options for the Creekside project. He said the system could choose to build a new wing, or it could opt to add classrooms to the sides or rear of the existing K-5 school.

Creekside, which has 19 portable classrooms, is slated to receive more than 20 permanent classrooms.

“The issue we’re running into is how we are going to configure the classrooms,” he said. “There are different costs associated with each option, and I still have to meet with individual board members to discuss this.”

Sisk said using the additional classrooms and a new administrative suite to split the school into separate entities would give Creekside additional teacher units.

“One of the options that I’m going to discuss with the architect and board members is whether to re-configure 20-plus classrooms and build an administrative suite,” he said. “It’s two schools basically on the same campus site, with K-2 and grades 3-5 (separated).”

The cost for this option would exceed $3 million, which would require further board approval.

“It’s more than $3 million, so anything that requires more than what the board already approved for capital outlay requires a new vote and further discussion,” Sisk said.

Other projects

The superintendent plans to meet with project architect Seawell McKee of McKee & Associates this week to review the $5.4 million renovations to Clements High School and $4.2 million gymnasium at Ardmore High School.

The Ardmore project, which features a new gym, two classrooms and hallway to connect the building to the school, broke ground in August.

The Clements project, which includes school-wide renovations, improvements to the exterior aesthetics and an overhaul to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, will be bid out in the coming weeks.

Sisk said a vendor has been selected to present at the Nov. 5 board meeting for a district-wide energy savings program, which will help defray maintenance costs.

The board approved a $26.1 million capital plan in March, but accepted an updated $27.1 million plan in September as part of the district’s five-year plan submitted to the state Board of Education.

Capital plan list

Listed below are the projects with estimated costs that were approved by the Limestone school board and submitted to the state. The first phase is underway, and the second phase is scheduled for 2015.

Phase I:

• $5.4 million to renovate Clements High School

• $4.2 million for a new gymnasium and classrooms at Ardmore High School

• $2.4 million to add classrooms at Creekside Elementary School

• $1 million, school roof replacements

Phase II:

• $11 million, new elementary school at West Limestone

• $500,000, Tanner land purchase

• $2.6 million, elementary renovations at Tanner

• $200,000, book warehouse expansion

• $300,000, school paving projects