Fate of former Jemison Middle building, gym still uncertain

Published 3:21 pm Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lack of state education funding has been the main obstacle in a pending renovation project at the old Jemison Middle School building and gymnasium, which have sat vacant for 18 months.

In 2010, Jemison Intermediate School was built to alleviate crowding in Jemison schools.

Then, the middle school, grades 5–7, joined the intermediate school to allow renovations to begin at the old JMS building, located next to Jemison High School.

But the estimated cost of the project was simply too high for the Chilton County School System to cover without help from the state, so the project was postponed.

Now, the Board of Education is taking a step by seeking the state’s approval in demolishing the gym, which Superintendent Dave Hayden said “has been condemned as unsalvageable by a structural engineer.”

“The structure is just not safe,” Hayden said, citing the gym’s age and traces of termite damage.

Hayden said plans for the rest of the building are still on hold. Before anything is done with either structure, both the state and the school board must approve all project plans and expenses.

If the state approves the demolition of the gym, the board will take bids on that portion of the renovation project, Hayden said.

“I’d love to do it before school starts, but we’re going to have to see how it plays out,” Hayden said. “At this time, I’m just not sure.”

The grade configuration at each school in Jemison will stay the same for the upcoming school year.

“It’s not ideal, but for now, that’s how we’re going to have to keep it,” Hayden said.