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High school plans to move forward

By Michael Butler

Plans for a new high school in Tallassee are still in place. Step one of changes on the THS campus is visible. The new parking lot is almost ready.

"We've had a couple of issues on how the asphalt was laid," Tallassee City Schools superintendent Wade Shipman stated. "We've been in negotiations to make sure that we get those deficiencies taken care. They're actually going to replace what's in the parking lot right now. What's on the streets is good."

Once the first part of upgrades is in the books, the school system should move toward the initial phases of a new school.

"The plans have been submitted to the building commission. They've been put out for bids. We're looking to have the bids back in March. We had a bond rating of AA. We're rated to go to the bond market and get a really good rate. The last I heard the bond rates have dropped below 3 percent."

Those low rates could mean big savings with such a substantial project financially.

"That drop will probably save us over a million dollars in interest. There have been some good things about this taking a little bit longer than we would have liked. One of the benefits of taking our time and doing it right is that we're going to get what we've asked for. We're going to work out some of the issues on the front side, so hopefully we're not going to have issues sneak up on us on the back side."

Construction could begin soon with the foundation of the music wing in the auditorium area. Portables will be added in the back of the school after school is out this spring.

"In the first part of the summer we'll be emptying out the old building to make sure the portables are ready for the start of the next school year. Then we'll be looking at taking down the main building."

Fences will be used to close off the work zones.

"It'll kind of segment the campus. Maybe a little more than the third of the students will be in the annex. The rest will be in the portables."

The annex is on the west end of the campus and will be retained initially with the construction of the new high school.

"The annex building could be an add on to the main building," Shipman added. "We need three or four contractors to bid. That's what gets you your best price."

Property prior to asphalt work