MADISON COUNTY, Ala. -- Sparkman High School students, staff, and parents can anticipate a lot of changes when they return to campus in three weeks.
Many of these changes are already complete, but some are still a work in progress. And with progress, comes growing pains.
A new fine arts center, new classrooms, and a band area at SHS are coming at a price tag of $17,000,000. In the meantime, that construction will affect parking for the upcoming school year, and some parents and students are concerned.
"We knew when we built the facility that we were losing parking spaces. Immediately we began looking at the master plan for what do we do, how do we accommodate this," said Tim Hall with Madison County Schools.
The school is losing over 200 parking spaces. School leaders know this is an inconvenience to both students and staff. "We don't like that inconvenience," Hall said. "But it is the cost of progress and the price that we pay."
School officials want students, parents, and staff to know that, despite the construction, they're still working on a solution.
"We're looking for additional places where we can gravel lots, maybe stripe some additional asphalt, where we can make some parking available, we're looking at maybe 50-60 additional spots right now," Hall said.
In the long run, they understand these changes seem daunting. But they believe everything will work out once school gets started.
"The situation is really going to have very low impact," principal Chris Shaw said. "Because the seniors will be allowed to park. The majority of our students ride buses and a lot of students carpool."
When this project at Sparkman is finished, the parking spaces they've lost will not only return, but more will be added on top of that.
This construction is expected to be completed and the fine arts facility will be in use by the 2020-2021 school year.