Hartselle City, Morgan County schools receive state funding for capital improvements
Hartselle City Schools will receive $4.5 million as a part of a $1.25 billion bond issuance approved last week by the Alabama Public School and College Authority.
The funds will go toward capital improvement projects, debt payments and building a new elementary school, according to Superintendent Dr. Dee Dee Jones.
Of that total, $1.5 million has been earmarked to replace the HVAC system at F.E. Burleson; $1.6 million will be used to pay off outstanding debt; and $1.3 million will go toward the startup costs of the new Crestline Elementary School. Jones said the new school could cost between $18-22 million and will have room for 800 students.
“Looking at trends and what’s coming to Hartselle, we have to prepare for that growth,” Jones said. “We’re almost at capacity at both Barkley Bridge and Burleson. Crestline still has some room but not much.”
Hartselle City Schools already owns the land on which the new building will be built – on the corner of Crestline Drive and Frost Street – and Jones said there will be little cost involved in prepping the existing site.
“The site is prepped,” she said. “The playground is there, and we can use that and build on what we have. There are lot of plusses.”
At the recent State of the Schools address, Jones said capital improvement projects at Barkley Bridge and Hartselle Junior High School saved the system nearly $10,000 in utility bills in the first month alone. “We cut some major costs by just replacing some old equipment,” Jones said. “When we make those needed improvements, we’re being responsible and good stewards of the funds, and we’re upgrading to make sure the environment our students are in is modern and up-to-date.
“Freeing up some of the debt will allow us to grow and expand some of our programs and make the needs of our students top priority,” she added.
Jones said HCS has been looking at its budget without the bond funds to ensure the school system is solvent.
“We’re excited to get this money to be able to complete these projects,” Jones said. “Financially, this is something we can do.”
In Morgan County Schools, school CFO Brian Bishop said the majority of the $8.75 million the district receives from the bond issue will be used on a new athletic facility at Danville High.
“We currently have the architect Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood working on the design phase, and the overall design will be similar to the West Morgan project we just finished,” Bishop said.
When the new facility was approved at a Jan. 9 meeting, the board and firm agreed on a tentative amount of $6,496,890 for the facility, with a cost-of-work fee of 6.2 percent for Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood.
Cassie Kuhn and Mary Sell contributed to this story.