Vote for CCHS $3.3 million addition fails

Published 9:07 pm Thursday, September 16, 2021

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By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

A Chilton County Board of Education vote to accept a bid of $3.3 million for a classroom addition at Chilton County High School failed during a meeting on Sept. 16.

Board members Brad Carter and Chris Smith voted in favor. Board President Pam Price, Vice President Jaqueline Sullivan and board members Diane Calloway and Keith Moore voted against.

Board member Lori Patterson was absent.

The initial estimate for the project had been at $1 million. Superintendent Jason Griffin said this estimate did not include the storm shelter area that is required by code once a school building gets over a certain square footage. He said the cost of building supplies has also gone up, which also added to the expense.

Moore said he was for building needed classrooms to get students out of portables, but he could not vote for spending this much on one project, which was so much more than had been estimated, when there were other schools that had needs.

Funding for this project and other capital projects the board is in the process of considering would be paid for from revenue the school system received from a state-issued bond. The bond was issued to borrow money to give local school systems additional funds for large projects.

“Chilton County High School currently has the most growth and the most portable classrooms,” Griffin said. “That is by far the biggest need.”

The school has four portable classrooms.

Price presented information that Jemison High School was actually growing at a faster rate. She said the original plan had been for CCHS to have six additional classrooms, but was then presented as eight classrooms with a science lab and two mechanical rooms. Griffin pointed out the board had approved moving forward with architectural drawings on the eight-classroom addition as well as sending it out to bid.

Sullivan and Price questioned why the issues in science labs not working properly at other schools were not being addressed, rather than building additional science labs for CCHS, which has perfectly working labs.  Maintenance director Freddy Smith said they had made repairs over the years, and all of the science labs in the school system are useable.

“We are talking about the fact that we have 14 schools (that need funds) maybe we have too many schools,” Smith said. “I think it is really seriously time, board members, to take a look at the fact that if we are upset that we are spending money at Clanton and not at Jemison that is not why we are here.”

Sending out a bid for the band room at Jemison High School and getting architectural drawings on a restroom addition at LeCroy Career Technical Center were approved.

A vote on the bid for a classroom addition at Isabella High School is expected at the October board meeting.