Calera School district will vote Aug. 28 on whether to pass a $2.4 million bond for Calera Public School.
Calera Superintendent Gerald Parks said this will be a step in the right direction.
Parks took the position of Superintendent this year but is entering his 35th year as an employee at Calera Schools. Parks said this is the starting point the school needs to enable future progress.
He said this proposal cannot meet all the current needs of the school but said that this step is needed in order to provide Calera students with needed facilities.
If passed, the bond will allow Calera Public Schools to build a new multi-purpose gymnasium with four new classrooms attached. The building would be located next to the new Early Childhood building that was built using the school’s 2005 grant.
The Early Childhood Building met the immediate needs of the growing number of students in Pre-K, Kindergarten and first grade.
These students are moving up to higher grades now so more classroom space is needed, said Parks. There are more than 650 students in Calera Schools so far this year.
The gym would be designed to match the look of the Early Childhood Building. The building would also be designed so that it may be easily expanded upon in the future.
“We’re not looking at just what’s needed right now.” said Parks. “We are looking 10, 15 years from now.”
Parks said that the doors on the building will be placed so that not if, but when the school needs to expand again, more classrooms can simply be added onto the building.
The school has tried to reduce the cost every way it can, said Parks. This means not including a covered walkway and utilizing space under the bleachers for storage.
The restrooms in the gym were also designed to cut spending. The restrooms will sit between the gym and classroom hallway. They will have a door on either side.
This will enable easy use of the restrooms from both the gym and classroom area. This design will reduce cost by eliminating the need separate restrooms for the gym and classrooms.
These classrooms, along with four classrooms that stand on the side of the existing gym will house grades seven and eight.
According to Park,s this will separate the junior high students from the high school, creating more room for both groups and a better learning environment overall.
The emerging space will provide the students with adequate facilities. As of now, Parks said that high school students have to go to the elementary building to have computer class.
With the new facilities in place, there will be space for a computer lab in the high school.
The current gym at Calera was built in the 1950 and is being outgrown by the students. If the new gym is built, the existing one will still be used for practice and P.E.
This will provide for easier scheduling of boys and girls practices and will allow for a more adequate building to host basketball games, graduation and other events.
The gym now has little walk way in front of the bleachers and none within the bleachers. This means that people must walk over bleachers to watch games.
Parks said this limits some people who would watch the game if they could easily get to seats.
The bond would provide for these needs by increasing property taxes in the area by less than 10 percent. If a tax payer paid $1,000 in property tax in 2011 the increase can be expected to be $98.69 in 2013.
According to Parks, this number will go down as property values go up with the upgraded school in the community.
Parks said he does not know how the impact of the recent storms in the area will affect the vote. He said it seemed to him however, that the community bonded together in the crisis, helping each other clear limbs and debris from yards.