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Site testing next hurdle for new Priceville school

Published 12:30pm Friday, October 12, 2012

Morgan County Board of Education has moved forward with plans for a new Priceville High School by authorizing a geotechnical survey to determine if the proposed 55-acre site on North Bethel Road is suitable for a school building.

Superintendent Bill Hopkins was authorized to hire Terracon Consultants of Birmingham to do the work for $3,345 at a regular board meeting Thursday night.

Hopkins said the testing would determine if the property contains wetlands and soil that will have to be removed and replaced.

“When we get their assessment we’ll know what, if anything, will have to be done and what the cost will be to meet building foundation requirements,” Hopkins said. “In the event the cost is prohibitive, we can turn out attention to one of the three other sites we have identified.”

The board has put down $5,000 in earnest money on a 55-acre tract in the Baker Group estate, which is located just off North Bethel Road and just outside of the Priceville city limits. The property is not currently accessible to a public road and would require off-site infrastructure improvements. The board will pay about $780,000 for the property if it meets state school construction requirements.

Mary Marquart, system test coordinator, briefed the board on Annual Yearly Progress status for the 2012-2013 school year.

She reported that the school system is in ”School Improvement Year 2”, which indicates a failure to make AYP for four consecutive years in the reading category. The 3-5 and high school grade spans also failed to make AYP in math.

The Cohort graduation rate for the 2010-2011 school year was 73 percent, or 1 percent higher than the state average.

She added that no schools in the system are in “School Improvement” and pointed out that all high schools and junior high schools in the system now have literacy coaches to help students who are lacking in reading skills.

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