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Old Faithful

Work now underway on new high school

By Michael Butler

The preliminary work is complete. It's time to get started. The process of building a new high school has begun in Tallassee.

Fencing in the construction zone area of the campus will be going up this week. Parking and traffic will be rerouted. Modular classrooms will be brought in on May 1. Projections are to be in a new building by August of 2022.


"Yesterday was day one officially on the build schedule," Tallassee City Schools superintendent Dr. Brock Nolin said of the Monday, Nov. 17 start date. "They didn't waste any time. Pretty much the entire east side of the campus is going to be locked down because of a perimeter fence. They bear the burden of responsibility."

New traffic patterns on the campus with amended parking will be put in place on Monday, Nov. 23.

"That's the most pressing thing," Nolin added. "If you're a car rider, you'll pick up and drop off on what is now the new Preer Street. That is one-way between 7-8 in the morning and 2:30-3:30 in the afternoon. Buses will pick up and drop off in front of the school in what once was the car rider line. That'll be the direction we go during this initial phase of building the auditorium and the band and choir facilities."

Traffic flow and parking changes during the construction period

The main campus building demolition is scheduled for this summer.

"It'll be history - 92 years of history," Nolin said. "If anyone who went to school there wants to schedule a walk through to come in and take pictures, they can get with Mrs. (Brooke) Barron."

School board chairman Don Bryant, like Nolin, taught in the school. Bryant also graduated from the hallowed grounds at THS.


"It's beautiful building, a landmark building," said Bryant. "It has not been sufficient all this time. The outside may look good. The bones may still be okay, not that we don't have to spend money on it. The amount of money we were told it would take would have made it prohibitive. As excited as I am about having this new building, I'm not sure I can be there the day the wrecking ball comes in."

Nolin said some of the relics of the high school built in 1928 will be implemented into the new facility.

"We just formed a decor committee to pick out furniture, furnishings, color schemes. There's a lot that we have to do. Build a house - 44,000 square feet. That's what you're faced with trying to conceptualize all the different options. You have to make it not only functual but visual."

The new school will be comparable with the number of classrooms in the existing structure but with a plan for growth.

"The current building has 22 classrooms," Nolin said. "The initial building will have 19 with a media center. The site is being prepped for an additional 12-14 if we experience growth. The actual square footage of the academic building would be smaller, but you're adding the band/choir facility and auditorium. We're going from 429 seating up to 650. It'll be a state-of-the-art facility."

Science labs would also be a part of the new building. A storm shelter will accommodate 850. The annex on the west side of the campus is being kept intact.

"If you look at the numbers that it takes to maintain an old structure and you're going to get a new structure, the maintenance costs are going to be down," Nolin added. "You're getting a new and efficient building. I'm not a "Field of Dreams" type guy, but you've got to think if you've got new facilities that's going to attract some new clientele."

Bryant agreed.

"The opportunity for growth it gives, the opportunity for students - when you say clientele - not just students but staff and faculty are just naturally attracted to a facility like that. The students, faculty and town deserve it."

New design resmembles the current look on the campus
Rendering by McKee and Associates