Progress report on Huntsville City Schools’ current construction projects

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Tuesday, Huntsville City School leader hosted a 'Future School Bus Tour' as a progress report for the 8 construction or renovation projects currently underway across the district.

"You won't believe these schools when we get through. There's not gonna be a whole lot like 'em in the country," assures district Construction & Renovation Coordinator Jeffrey Gattis.

The former Ed White School site is future home to AAA School. The learning space is slated for completion in August, with a 21,000 square-foot theater to emerge out front about a year later.

Whitesburg P-8 School is really coming together. The 21-acre property will open to students this fall. Nearly all remnants of Terry Heights Elementary are gone as Sonnie Hereford P-6 School emerges in its place. The $18 million project should be done by fall 2016.

Jemison High School Aerial (ETV)

Jemison High School aerial, May 2015 (Tim Hansen, ETV)

Next is Jemison High School. The project budget of $65 million just got a more than $2 million increase for sports facilities. The total cost of all three projects adds more than $2.23 million to the campus bill. The overall project cost, however, increases by $1,246,762 because the district also removed  $1,129,164 worth of work from the main campus by cutting out unnecessary items.

Jemison High School will be on Pulaski Pike north of Stringfield Road. Included in the campus construction price is the adjoining McNair Junior High School. Both are expected to open in August 2016.

"We had an aging inventory of buildings; we're replacing those. we've got a board and a superintendent who's thinks students are number one here and we're going to do whatever it takes to build learning environments," Gattis says.

Even though several new schools are in the works, due to consolidation the district is actually losing a lot of square-footage. In 2001, the district consisted of 46 schools. By 2017, that will be reduced to 37 schools.