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Hartselle school board to vote on upgrades
By Lucy Berry
The Decatur Daily

Daily file photo by Gary Cosby Jr.
As students prepare to move into the new Hartselle High campus, seen here in June, the school board toured the old facility, seeking to clarify what upgrades would be needed.

HARTSELLE — As students prepare to move to the new $44 million Hartselle High School, officials must address a number of issues at the current campus on Sparkman Street before junior high students relocate there.

The Hartselle school board toured the current Hartselle High on Friday to determine potential upgrades to the 51-year-old campus, including cleaning, painting, parking lot improvements, and a new heating and cooling system.

Seventh- and eighth-graders will move to the Sparkman Street campus in August. The Hartselle Junior High School campus at 130 Petain St. S.W. will serve fifth- and sixth-graders this fall under the name Hartselle Intermediate School.

The board will meet tonight at Crestline Elementary to vote on whether to turn over the proposed upgrades to architects Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood to prepare for bidding. Some of the cosmetic upgrades will be completed in-house.

“In balancing all of that out with time and money, we have to get some designs and bids out pretty quick, probably by the end of February, to let us get that work started after the kids move into the new school,” school board member Randy Sparkman said.

A new heating and cooling system, which could cost up to $1.2 million, could be installed in multiple phases over two years. Other cosmetic upgrades — such as painting, installing more-secure school entrances and renovating restrooms — could be completed by the end of the summer.

Superintendent William Michael Reed said the school system could dip into its $859,000 capital fund or $7 million reserve to pay for renovations to the campus.

Hartselle High’s new Bethel Road campus, which will open in late February or early March, must be completed by Feb. 7, the contractual date. Architects learned last month that changes to the $2 million athletic complex — required to make it equitable for boys and girls — will cost $55,000 more than the $165,000 estimate.

In late October, responding to community pressure, the school board approved a renovation to provide locker space to the softball team.

Football and baseball will occupy most of the facility, while softball will take up 580 square feet with storage, a coach’s office, showers, toilets and a media room. Girls also will have access to a weight room in the indoor practice facility.

The addition was made in response to concern that leaving out lockers for girls’ sports could be a federal Title IX violation. Reed said Friday the system has not received a new cost estimate regarding changes to the athletic complex.

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