System leaders announce plans for Florence Middle School’s future

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) - In just a few short months, Florence City Schools will begin one of the largest building projects in recent history.

The current Florence Middle School and former Coffee High School is set to be razed and a modern middle school will be constructed in its place.

More than 50 years of wear and tear are certainly noticeable in the hallways of Florence Middle School. At near capacity and facing millions of dollars in repairs, the Florence School Board decided to tear down and start over.

"We`ve had to look for many generations to come” Florence Schools Superintendent Janet Womack explained. “We`ll have a quality school building and structure to be a part of that really fits today's learning environment and also today`s safety needs with students."

With 700-plus students, it`s taken a lot of planning to set up a temporary campus behind Hibbett School.

The school system has approved a group of modular structures custom built for the school’s needs, instead of going with the typical trailer campus. Womack said she doesn’t want to compromise instructional quality or security for the up to 30 months the students will spend there.

"There are many classrooms and restrooms in each structure, and enclosed hallways and all of those components with wireless internet, and fire alarm systems, intercom systems, everything so that our instruction is not interrupted at all," stated Womack.

Womack said the modular structures will be in place behind Hibbett School by the end of the school year, so teachers and school personnel can prepare them for the `16 - `17 school year.

School board members said demolition of the current Florence Middle School will begin in the summer. Plans for the $30-million middle school should be finalized in January and presented to the public.

Officials urge anyone with questions about the changes coming to Florence Middle School to call the Florence Board of Education during regular business hours.