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July 16, 2013

Demolition under way at CHS

Crews clearing space for massive renovation project

CULLMAN — After more than a year of planning, work is officially under way at Cullman High School — and the buildings are coming down.

The school board has approved a large-scale renovation of the campus, and crews arrived last week to bulldoze several buildings to make room for new, updated facilities.

The first phase of demolition calls for the removal of 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 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.

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.

Though staging isn’t an issue during the summer, the board has installed several large portables to house the lost office and classroom space as construction continues into the fall semester.

The entire project is estimated to cost approximately $22 million, slightly above the original budgeted amount. Engineers are working now to find areas where they can trim costs on the back half of the project.

New revenue from a countywide half-cent sales tax is expected to cover the majority of new debt service from high school construction.

An additional $400,000 in cash flow will also be made available next year, when the debt service from construction of the Cullman Primary School rolls off. By combining both sources — cash flow from former Primary School debt and the new half-cent revenue — officials say there should be more than enough revenue to cover the additional debt for construction.

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

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