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Board approves architectual firm

By Michael Butler

The Tallassee Board of Education has selected McKee and Associates to do the architectual work at Tallassee High School. The first project will be the design for a fine arts center.

McKee has done work at the J.E. "Hot" O'Brien Stadium with its expansion and upgrades over the past decade. The firm is no stranger to new high schools either.

"They have a reputation for building as many high schools in the state of Alabama as anybody has," Tallassee City Schools superintendent Wade Shipman said. "They're very reputable. What that means is we'll start the design phase.

"We've been creating a master plan of how we want buildings to lay out on the campus with traffic flow and parking lots. Now comes the design process with literally drawing up blueprints for the fine arts building and getting things ready for the bid process."

The school board selected Steve Martin Engineering and Surveying to handle the survey work.

"It's going to be $28-32 million," Shipman said of the project in full which includes a new high school. "We're doing the best we can with the monies we have to make this work. This will take some time."

Shipman said the wheels started turning initially during capital plan meetings and discussion for a new music building.

"I said, 'How can we build a music building if we don't even know if this is the campus we're going to stay on long term if there is a new school built?' Unless we have $30 million then the decision is made for us. $30 million is what it's going to take right now to build a school anywhere you want. Anything short of that and we're doing just what we're doing, which is building it on the same campus in stages. That's not a bad plan. There have been a number of schools that have done that."

The high school serves as the centerpiece of the city and will continue as a focal point for Tallassee.

"That's part of what I discovered in conversations with people of how important that is to the central part of our community. Look at it from a practical standpoint. What if you did build it somewhere else? What's going to happen to that area? That's critical too. It's part of the long term plan of what's going to happen to Tallassee."

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