Redevelopment plan for current Grissom High School interests, excites community

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) -- After the new building is finished, the soon-to-be old Grissom High School will be a blank slate. The question had been, what to do with it.

Its redevelopment is being called a future center for the community. Tuesday, that community found out what the plans actually look like.

"It's a nice little hub here for all sorts of community activities," commented resident Tom Borcher. "I think we need it on this side of town."

Dennis Madsen, manager of urban and long range planning in the city, said the plans include keeping many of the existing athletic fields, adding some parking, creating a big lawn for community movie nights and events, and making an exercise trail around the campus.

"We'd keep the theater," he said, "because The Arts Council is a partner and they think that would be a great spot to use for alternative events."

The new Bailey Cove library is also a big part of the plans to give this area a heartbeat.

"Creating that kind of great campus that south Huntsville will hopefully embrace as their own," commented Madsen. It seemed like, now they've had a chance to see it, many of the residents would happy to do just that.

"I think this is a great reuse of the facility and the location," said Russ Holder, who has lived near the school his whole life and graduated from Grissom. "I used to play for Grissom's tennis team, so hopefully they plan on keeping the tennis courts," he explained.

Others say the only downside to this plan is that it'll take around two years to see construction, after the school system moves into its new facility.

"I know how things can change over time, in terms of plans," said Borcher, "and I'm really just hoping it stays in the direction they've got it now."

Madsen says what they've projected for Grissom is something they would like to spread across the city, and this blueprint is a good stepping stone for other projects.

"There are lessons we can actually learn here that we can translate to the rest of the city," he said.