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Work at high school could begin this summer

By Michael Butler

Tallassee City Schools superintendent Wade Shipman spoke about the recently passed one cent sales tax addition in the Elmore County portion of Tallassee and its impact on the future plans at Tallassee High School.

"I want to thank the city council, those that voted for it, and mayor Hammock for taking the initiative," Shipman said. "When I went to the city council the first thing I did is ask for $30 million because that's the full price tag. It's important that people hear that because when you hear that we're going to get $300,000 (annually), you can do the math. $300,000 is not $30 million. It's going to help us do things a little faster, but this project is going to be a five to ten year project."

Shipman met with architects and engineers last week on areas the school system is trying to acquire from the city. Part of the property includes Preer Street which runs parallel to side of the school facing King Street.

Architect's rendering of proposed high school

"What we've seen so far are just drawings. They're not the actual architectual blueprints. Those blueprints are going to take some time to develop over the next six months or so," Shipman added. "My goal would be that we can start working on some of the parking and getting the layout of the campus to look different with what we're trying to do with the performing arts center. Those things would hopefully start taking shape over the summer and into the fall."

Shipman did point out that planning must be precise to avoid interruptions during the start of the next school year. The performing arts center would be phase one of the the multi-phased project.

"It's supposed to seat about 700. Our current facility seats about 450 with a stage that is probably half or a third of the size of a modern stage."

The Tallassee City School System has acquired properties adjacent to the school which opens the door for expansion.

"We own all the houses along Preer Street. Going up to the next traffic light, we own all the houses along Barnett except one. We're hopeful that piece of property will be available when we need it."

If all falls into place with initial planning, Shipman expects to break ground on construction before Christmas. The performing arts center portion of the complete plan totals approximately $10 million.

"We're likely to have it done towards the end of the 2020 school year. The building would be open for use in the fall of 2020."

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