- Cullman, Alabama

October 6, 2013

City Super. Griffeth talks out-of-district wait list, CHS renovation

By Trent Moore
The Cullman Times

— The Cullman City Schools system remains as popular as ever with local families, though an increase in city students has left more parents than ever on a lengthy wait list for access.

Speaking at a Rotary luncheon Thursday, superintendent Dr. Doreen Griffeth noted the system was only able to admit two out-of-district students at Cullman Primary School this year — from a wait list that has parents lining up around the building each year to be first to sign up.

“We have 3,000 students, though we could have lots more,” she said. “The Primary School is like a gatekeeper for us, and they were only able to let in two out of district people, because we were already so full. We just have to be very careful with our numbers.”

Griffeth also touched on the massive, $20 million renovation project at the high school, which will bring upgraded infrastructure and a brand new look to the decades-old campus.

The first phase of demolition at the high school campus is removing the administration building, guidance building, media center and J Building. In their place a 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 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.

“We’re just really excited,” Griffeth said. “Not only will it be a great site for our students, but also for our community.”

As part of the redesign, the bottom level classrooms will be reinforced to meet storm shelter standards, meaning they can be used as shelter in the event of a tornado or powerful storm.

“Right now you’ll see a lot of cement going up right now, which is the building of our safe shelter,” Griffeth said. “We’re creating a place where we can gather our students in the event of a tornado, so they can be there in a safe place. The entire building could fall down on it, and it would still hold.”

Griffeth also briefly addressed the on-field brawl between a Walker and Cullman coach that occurred following a football game at the start of the season. The incident ended with the suspension of both coaches, and varying levels of AHSAA probation for both sides.

“With my job lately, I might fall off but I’ll get right back up,” she said. “We’ve had some bumps and bruises, but we’re going to get right back up, get back going and head in the right direction.”

She also touched on the school and student’s response to the brawl in social media.

“When we had the football fiasco, our kids were quiet, and that’s because they were asked to do so,” she said. “It’s something we have to be mindful of. Social media can help us get messages out, but we feel strongly that we have to teach them to use it correctly.”

Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.