As the 2021-2022 school year approaches, Elmore County Public Schools is juggling a slew of projects at schools throughout the district.
The school board just hosted a ribbon cutting for the new band/choral department at Stanhope Elmore on July 20, and now more renovations are in progress at the school. Superintendent Richard Dennis said the theatre room, the kitchen and student dining areas are being renovated.
Now that the new band/choral wing has opened, the old band room will be transformed into a new theatre room. Dennis said another older area the school will be transformed into a new art class. The kitchen and dining area at SEHS will be expanded to include more dining space and access to courtyard.
“The dining are will be a good bit bigger and cafeteria will include access to a nice courtyard area,” Dennis said.
Another project to upgrade the lighting at the softball fields is progressing smoothly, according to Dennis. He said the concrete poles are being installed and they will be outfitted with LED lights. The project is expected to cost more than $830,000.
A softball fieldhouse is expected to be constructed at Wetumpka High School prior to the start of this year’s season. Dennis said the project is currently out for bid, but WHS softball can expect new home and visitor accommodations.
The district is also working to reduce the risks associated with power outages by ensuring that each school has access to a generator. Whenever there’s a power outage, Dennis said school cafeterias risk losing thousands of dollars worth of food if power can’t be restored in a timely manner. The district’s solution is to install a transfer switch and portable generator at each school site.
With kitchen renovations in progress at SEHS and Redland Middle School under construction, Dennis said portable generators won’t be necessary. Built-in generators were included in the designs for both projects.
Speaking of RMS, Dennis said the construction of the school is on target. Curb and gutter is being installed and gravel is being poured for the parking lots on the west, south and east sides. The majority of the doorframes are in place and the concrete block walls are going up. Electrical wiring and plumbing work is taking place at various locations on the site and the installation of the roof recently began. The $26.6 million school is slated to open at the beginning of the 2022 school year.
In August 2020, the district began a construction project to build an additional $7 million building at the Elmore County Technical Training Center. The school’s hospitality and tourism and HVAC programs are housed on another campus owned by the school district because a lack of space at the current building.
Once the additional building is complete all programs offered by the school will once again be located in one place. Dennis said the exterior of the building is up, the roof is currently being installed and interior build-out is taking place.
“There’s a lot of ductwork and plumbing work happening right now,” Dennis said.
Millbrook Middle, a $26,7000 STEM lab is being created using a room located in the library. The project is part of an overall effort to make sure each middle school is equipped with a STEM lab.
Two other projects are in the works but have yet to enter the bid phase. A fine arts center is planned for WHS and a new child development center will be constructed in Holtville. Denis said the new Holtville Child Development Center is needed to accommodate growth at the center and it will comparable to the one in Eclectic.