MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) - Thursday night, July 31st, is "Patriot Night" at Bob Jones High School in Madison. It's a chance for students, staff and parents to roam the halls, meet teachers, see friends and check out all the unusual things going on at the school.
As the new school year begins on August 5th, there are big projects in the works, new things added, old things missing, and changes among the administrators.
Principal Robby Parker insists the crutches he's using, following a biking accident, are like the construction chaos at his school -- temporary.
"I think I've probably got another three or four weeks on them," said Parker. "About the time I'm really getting good on them, they're going to take me off of them."
Parker swears his crutches won't hold him back, and the ongoing construction won't hold students back as they start their new school year.
"We want instruction to begin on Tuesday morning at 8:15 and I can assure you that's going to happen," Parker insisted.
Workers are finishing up phase one of a $20 million renovation project and then will keep on moving into phase two, sharing the school with the students through 2015.
Some changes students will notice include no lockers. Workers took them out and gave them to Liberty Elementary School, since the high schoolers don't really use them much. Classrooms at BJHS have new technology for teaching and there are even new bathrooms in the bottom floor of the school.
There will also be new faces helping Parker. This year, he has four new assistant principals.
"Three of them came from within our system and moved up to us," Parker explained. "One I hired from Huntsville city and he's doing a tremendous job."
Parker expects those four will eventually be promoted away just like their predecessors. But just like using crutches, Parker is taking it all in stride and embracing the challenges.
"I went on the football field and ran two 60-yard sprints on my crutches with the kids just to get in shape," he laughed.
He admits the central office will not be finished by the first day of class, but staff can easily work around it.
Enrollment is at 1,715 students attending BJHS this year in grades nine through 12.