• 63°

BOE capital plan would update, expand schools

Projects would be completed only if funding is available

A five-year capital expense plan aimed at expanding classroom space and bringing schools up to the standards of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), including renovating restrooms at all local schools, was approved during a Demopolis Board of Education meeting Monday.

According to Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff, the funding for projects related to ADA compliance will be funded and completed; however, the other capital projects slated for later in the five-year plan would only be done if the funding was to become available.

The first capital project, one related to ADA compliance, is a $50,000 project to add wheelchair ramps and lifts, restrooms, and water fountains at the middle school. The board will undertake that project in 2018. The system will also work to renovate all student bathrooms at each school. That project could also be done in 2018 and would cost about $80,000, Kallhoff said.

Projects coming later in the five-year plan would only be done if funding were to become available. Kallhoff said currently the funding is not available.

One plan includes adding a six-classroom wing at U.S. Jones for STEM, broadcasting, art, severe special needs, and two other classrooms. The estimated cost would be $2.5 million.

The board is also eyeing a $3 million project for DMS that would expand the cafeteria and add a six-classroom wing, similar to the one proposed at USJ. A second project with an estimated $2.5 million price tag calls for a multipurpose gymnasium and student activity center.

Kallhoff said expanding space at both USJ and DMS is important as the system grows.

“U.S. Jones and the middle school are both at capacity,” he said. “If we are going to continue accepting additional students we will need to expand those campuses.”

The final year of the plan covers 2021 and could include enhancements at Demopolis High School. A $515,000 project calls for new flooring in the hallways and carpeted areas, remodeled classrooms and widening the entrance to the campus. A $1.5 million project would see the construction of a 10,000 square-foot physical education gymnasium; and finally, a $500,000 project to update heating and air in the band room, current gymnasium, weight room and coaches’ offices.

Also during the meeting, the board approved moving the DHS graduation date back to the original date of May 25, 2018 after it was learned that May 18 was the finals for the AHSAA baseball and softball championships.

(This article originally appeared in the Saturday, Sept. 23, print edition of the Demopolis Times.)