The old high school on Sparkman Street is getting a drop ceiling and updates to its air conditioning system in preparation of becoming Hartselle's new junior high. | Joy Harris
The old high school on Sparkman Street is getting a drop ceiling and updates to its air conditioning system in preparation of becoming Hartselle's new junior high. | Joy Harris

Archived Story

Changes in Hartselle City schools

Published 4:38pm Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Joy Harris

Hartselle Enquirer

Hartselle City Schools’ new superintendent Vic Wilson has entered a school system in the middle of some major changes.

In August, Hartselle City Schools will add an intermediate school to the existing elementary, junior high and high schools. This addition will alter every other school in the system.

The old high school will become the new junior high school for seventh and eighth graders. The current junior high will become Hartselle Intermediate School, housing fifth and sixth graders.

The empty classrooms in the elementary schools may be used as pre-school classrooms or eventually as additional classrooms for kindergarten through fourth grades if needed. According to Board of Education Chairman Dr. James Joy, each elementary school will hopefully have one pre-school class in the near future.

“We are exploring adding pre-school classes to the elementary schools in Hartselle, but they would not be immediately funded by the state,” Joy said. “We will just have to wait and see, but we hope to get one class in each school. We don’t have any immediate plans to expand other grades into those classrooms, but they are there if the need arises.”

Board of Education member Jennifer Sittason said changes were looking good so far.

“Things are transitioning well,” Sittason said. “We are so excited about the improvements going on in our system.”

The Board of Education decided to build a drop ceiling in the old high school instead of simply replacing or repairing the missing and broken ceiling tiles from the existing building. This drop ceiling decision has put the project ahead of schedule because building a new ceiling will be quicker than cutting new tile to fill all the existing holes.

Currently, the air conditioning systems in the old high school are being updated in preparation for the new junior high. Ductwork and lights are also being replaced.

The Board of Education is under budget so far. They initially thought the transition would cost about $1.2 million. The BOE accepted Smith Service Corporation’s low bid of just under $900,000 and then added about $100,000 worth of changes to their original ideas. Even with the additions, the project will cost about $1 million, about $200,000 under budget.

“So far the project is still under budget and ahead of schedule,” Joy said. “We are looking at Aug. 8 or 9 as a completion date. That is assuming we don’t run into any serious problems, which we haven’t so far.”

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