Franklin County Schools Hopeful For Funds To Repair Tornado-Stricken School

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – It’s been two years since a tornado outbreak ripped through Alabama communities in April 2011, killing hundreds of people and damaging vital infrastructure.

Some of the buildings destroyed have not been rebuilt.  A bill in the Alabama legislature may allocate money to help repair storm-damaged schools.

As construction crews prepare the foundation for Phil Campbell High School, already the blueprints have changed.  That’s because the project came in over budget.

Now, Franklin County Schools Superintendent Gary Williams says he’s hopeful the district could be the recipient of more than $6 million, if House Bill 517 gets passed into law.

“It would be a great help to us because our original bid, we had to go back and cut about that much out of it,” said Williams.

According to Williams, plans for a new auditorium got pulled.  Instead, a stage will be constructed in the gym.

Also, a shingle roof took the place of a more expensive metal top.

The school district budgeted $17 million for the project.  Funds from insurance, FEMA, and the Alabama Department of Finances will help pay the bill.  “It’ll be great to have a little bit of cushion,” said Williams.

With a two-year timeline on the project, the superintendent says unexpected issues could also throw a wrench into the already tight budget.

“You never know, too, once you get into construction what the extra cost is going to be,” said Williams.

Whatever the unexpected expenses may turn out to be, the superintendent says this rebuilding project does more than raise a new school; it lifts up the community too.

If this bill gets put into law, five other school districts across Alabama would be allocated money also.