UNA, Florence City School Board discuss middle school property

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FLORENCE, Ala. - Dozens of citizens listened in as dozens of questions were fired back and forth between leaders from Florence City Schools, the University of North Alabama, and the city of Florence.

The school board is wanting to build a new middle school on the former middle school site, having started the process years ago.

But the site is right next to Braly Stadium and UNA leaders fear it will negatively impact the university.

Now, UNA administrators want the school board to stop the process, or at least delay it.

"Stand down on the bidding, give us 60 days, talk, consider options and see all the options we might be able to work out that work well for all parties," said UNA President Ken Kitts.

In the last few weeks the university and school board have gone back and forth about parking at Braly Stadium and how the new school will infringe on that.

"Florence city schools has been in this process for over 2 and a half years, we open bids on Thursday," explained Florence City School Board President Bill Griffin. "It's odd we’re meeting on Monday for a sixty day delay and my question is: what are we going to do for those sixty days?"

President Kitts tells WHNT News 19 that he would like to spend those days discussing any options they may have, including possibly moving the school to another site and how the university's parking would be affected by alternative options.

Griffin says if UNA had come forward with their issues a year ago, it would be a different conversation. He goes on to say that though open-minded, the school board is looking ahead to building the school quickly.

No decision was made at the community meeting Monday evening, but at the end of the meeting, Superintendent Janet Womack told WHNT News 19 that the bid opening is still on for Thursday.

The school board's next scheduled meeting is Friday, one day after the bidding is slated to open.

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