By Trent Moore
The Cullman Times
With a massive renovation project ramping up this summer, officials at Cullman High School are making arrangements for the approximately 18-month construction schedule that will be in place for the 2013-2014 school year.
A new, two-story main academic building will replace the current library, administration and guidance offices. A large-scale renovation of the auditorium is also planned, along with a new lobby area to connect the auditorium to the cafeteria. The board hopes to work with the city to have underground utilities installed on campus, as well.
The approximately $14.5 million project will also rewire the entire campus for high-speed and wireless Internet capabilities, while remaining older buildings will be retrofitted.
The upgrades will be funded by additional revenue from a new, countywide half-cent sales tax that was approved last year.
With the entire project set to bid within two months, school officials have ordered six portable units that will be used as classroom space next year while the J-building is being demolished.
“We’ll be moving family and consumer science, theater, art, chorus and driver’s education there,” principal Elton Bouldin said. “We feel we have a good plan in place to have access to campus, but to control access to construction areas.”
Systemwide support services coordinator Hayden Faulk is working with teachers and faculty to start moving equipment to a nearby storage facility, as architects Fuqua & Partners finalize the full scope of the plans.
“We should have the full set of plans next week and they said it will be about the size of a novel — very thick — so we’ll have to go through that and approve it,” he said.
The first phase of demolition at the high school campus will remove the administration building, guidance building, media center and J Building. In their place the new two-story, 68,000-square-foot academic building will be built. The academic building will include two floors of classrooms, a media center, cafe, commons, administration space and a multipurpose facility. The bottom level classrooms will also be reinforced to meet storm shelter standards, meaning they can be used as shelter in the event of a tornado or powerful storm.
The J Building will be replaced with a two-story, 22,000-square-foot fine arts building. A new auditorium lobby will be built and the main auditorium renovation will also be done at this time. The A and B buildings will remain in use until phase I construction is complete.
In addition to the overall campus project, the school board is also prepping Phase III of the Cullman High stadium renovation. The board is finalizing plans to replace the south side concession stand, plus add more rest room facilities. The new concession stand will be a multi-use facility for football and the baseball field, which lies just north of the stadium.
The first phase of stadium work redesigned the drainage system and added an artificial turf field, while the second phase revamped the main entrance and ticket booth on the south side of the stadium.
“We had football coaches, track representatives and everyone represented to go over the design and it was a great meeting,” Superintendent Dr. Jan Harris said.
To bid farewell to the old look, the high school will host a pre-construction open house April 12 from 3-6 p.m. The event will include guided tours of the facilities provided by student ambassadors. A multi-media presentation detailing the construction project will also be held at 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. in the auxiliary gym.
Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.