By NEAL WAGNER / Editor-in-Chief
ALABASTER — The Alabaster School Board will continue to focus on improvements and renovations to its school campuses over the next few years after finalizing construction of the city’s new high school later this year, according to a five-year capital plan that the school board approved during a special meeting called on August 7.
Each year, school systems across the state are required to submit their five-year capital plans to the state Department of Education outlining the funding amounts, years of funding, and projected years of completion for their capital projects.
“The capital plan is just us anticipating our future needs. This is an assessment of what we need to look at moving forward and where our needs are going to be,” said ACS Executive Director of Student Services and Operations, Dr Jeff Atkins, noting that the document is primarily for planning purposes, and does not obligate future expenditures of the school system.
The biggest capital project on the list, as in recent years, remains the construction of a new high school near Thompson Road. Teams have been working on the project for several months and the school is expected to open its doors to students in January 2018.
The ACS included $85.5 million in funding for the new school in its 2014 fiscal year, which came from a portion of the $120 million in bonds issued by the school system in 2014.
The capital project also included renovations to the current Thompson High School facility, which will serve as the city’s sixth grade center and middle school once the new high school is completed. The school system included $4 million in funding for renovations in 2015.
Renovations to the current Thompson Middle School, which will likely one day house the school system’s central office, are also nearing completion. The school system included $1.58 million in funding for the project in its 2016 fiscal year.
The current fiscal year includes $1 million in funding for several roofing projects throughout the school district. These projects will likely be completed in 2018, according to the capital plan.
In fiscal year 2018, the city plans to allocate $3.5 million for information technology needs and plans to allocate $500,000 for additional computing needs in fiscal year 2020.
In fiscal year 2019, the school system plans to allocate $500,000 to HVAC projects in the district. Also in fiscal year 2020, the school system plans to allocate $750,000 for additional information technology upgrades.
In fiscal year 2021, the school system plans to allocate $1.25 million for a roofing project at the current Thompson High School. In 2022, ACS plans to spend $100,000 to repair the roof of the current Thompson Sixth Grade Center building.