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Concept sketches by McKee and Associates

New high school on the horizon

By Michael Butler

The new Tallassee High School parking lot is near completion. It’s the first step in an array of big changes coming to the campus.

“The goal right now is to be done around Christmas,” Tallassee City Schools superintendent Wade Shipman said.

That’s good news for the second semester. Students will have access to the additional 90 parking places.

Then shortly thereafter the next phase of the project should begin.

The new parking lot under construction

“We’re starting the bid process in December and January. We’re hoping to have a bid approved in February and taking it to the bond market simultaneously.”

Estimates for the new high school and auditorium are around $20 million.

“The auditorium and replacement of the high school are basically going to be done at the same time,” Shipman said. “At the end of the school year, the high school will come down. If the bid is approved in February, they start working in March.”

That scenario would allow about three months to set the foundation for the new building while closing out the current school year.”

“We’re trying to coincide, so we can get the school year finished in our building. It’s going to be a real challenge.”

The biggest challenge will be for the 2020-21 school year, when classes will be moved to the annex on the west wing of the campus and portable classrooms.

“We’re looking at maxing out the annex area. We’re looking at setting up some administrative trailers. There’s going to be a series of 16 portables in the band practice area.”

Shipman added that the goal is to be in the new building by the start of the 2021-22 school year.

“People have the same feelings on both sides. I don’t have people saying I’m totally against it or for it. They talk about the old building and how much it’s meant to Tallassee, but how excited they are for the next stage.”