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Plans On Hold For New High School In Madison County

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TONEY, Ala. (WHNT) - Madison County Schools Superintendent David Copeland has put plans to build a new high school in the Toney area on hold.

"Our desire would be to build a new high school out on that property, the problem is funding," said Dr. Copeland.

Instead, he's recommended combining Sparkman High School and Sparkman Ninth Grade Academy into one school, using the $22 million in available funds.

The needs created by Madison County's ever-expanding population was a focus of Friday's county commission meeting.   That includes the importance of a new county high school.

Infrastructure and schools are the two biggest areas affected by rapid growth. 

While county commissioners empathize with school board finance restrictions, many are still hoping for a new school miracle.  However, the fact remains, money isn't free.

"The growth is going to continue coming to Madison County so it's a good thing for the commission to continue with the road improvements," said Commissioner Jerry Craig.

Engineering studies and contract bids for road projects were the talk at Friday's commission meeting.

Craig says the progress is good, but a new Madison County school would be pretty nice too.

"You know where the children are is where the schools need to be," said Craig.  "There doesn't need to be overloaded classrooms in one of the fastest-growing areas in Madison County or the state for that matter."

Supreintendent Copeland agrees, but indicated it's easier said than done.

"I would love to have the money to build a first-class 6A high school on that property but I don't want to build a substandard school," said Copeland.

Commissioner Dale Strong's District 4 may be in great need for student space, but finding the money is the challenge.

"The reality is you can only do what you have money to do," said Copeland.

And while veteran commissioner Craig certainly understands that predicament...

"I just don't understand what they're thinking in District 4," said Craig.  "Dale might know, but I don't."

The plan to invest funding into Sparkman High School improvments is only a recommendation at this point.