Visitors to Tanner Elementary School this year might find it hard not to notice the usual entryway has been blocked by orange fencing and construction equipment. It's all part of Limestone County School's capital improvement plan — and a way for the school to get ready for the growth headed to the area.
The project began over the summer with bathroom renovations for all grades and teachers. Tanner Elementary Principal Sylvia Haslam said new tiles, flooring and fixtures were included. As for the entrance, a whole new addition is planned that will feature an all-new administrative suite.
"That addition will house my office, the counselor's office, a reception area and a parent conference area, so we are excited about that," Haslam said.
Currently, her desk is situated in a classroom that doubles as a conference area. Once the addition is built, the two will be separated, allowing teachers to meet with parents in confidentiality or participate in professional development courses without having the principal's desk just a few feet away.
Another classroom is being used as the front office. Haslam said after construction is complete, they'll be able to return the space to its original use — a place for students to learn and teachers to teach.
She said expanding the school is exciting because it's an opportunity "to have a front row seat to growth." Several major developments have been announced in areas near the Tanner community, and upgrading the school's amenities are just one more way to make the school more attractive to newcomers.
"The community is excited, because they support us in everything we do, and we know this is one more thing that is going to make us more marketable and hopefully attract more students to Tanner Elementary School ... and expand the community as a whole," Haslam said.
As construction continues, car and bus lines at the school have had to adjust. Haslam said this will likely continue through the end of the school year, as it could be next summer before the administrative suite is move-in ready.
Not the only one
Tanner Elementary isn't the only school receiving an upgrade this year, either. Renovations at West Limestone High are also on the list, including upgrades to the school's bathrooms and building a more "modernized" entrance for the high school, according to LCS officials.
The schools were part of the 2021 list of projects approved last year by the Limestone County Board of Education. Other 2021 projects approved during the meeting included roofing projects at Limestone County Career Tech Center, Tanner High and the former site of Owens Elementary, as well as access controls at exterior doors throughout the district.