HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Huntsville City Schools has announced a second building at its future central office site.
Friday, HCS announced the City of Huntsville officially approved an agreement to donate 14 acres of property to HCS. HCS plans to build its new central offices and a career and technical education center on the entire site, located at the northwest corner of North Memorial Parkway and Max Luther Drive (formerly the Max Luther Shopping Center).
A 2021 plan involving HCS and the City of Huntsville was slated to have the city buy the property for $3.5 million, give $1 million to HCS for the district to build their new headquarters on part of the site, then develop the rest through private-public partnerships, creating a mixed-use development. Projected developments at the time included office, medical, retail, and hospitality or multi-family housing.
Property records show the City bought the land for $10 on August 20, 2021, from previous owner Hertiage Ventures, Inc., and the property has remained owned by the City since.
With HCS acquiring the entire 14-acre site, the new central office building will be joined by a career and technical education academy. The agreement between the City and HCS calls for a $1 million reimbursement from the City once the project is completed; with the City declaring the property surplus and selling it to HCS for $100.
A rendering provided to News 19 shows plans to transform the entire 14-acre site into a two-building property with a large amount of green space.
HCS plans to begin construction at the new site within a year. Construction is scheduled to be finished in summer 2025, barring supply chain issues. HCS will move from its current headquarters at the Annie Merts Center by the fall 2025 semester, and students will start in the new career tech academy at the same time.
Huntsville City Schools Superintendent, Christie Finley told News 19 she is excited about the Career Tech Academy because “there is a need in our community, and more importantly, our students have asked for those courses.”
The Superintendent said, Career Tech classes are on the rise. “There was a stigma many years ago of going into career tech as part of an elective option as a high school student, that’s not a stereotype anymore” she said. “We have students that want to be in these programs, they know it leads to opportunities in the workforce right out of school.”
She said right now they already have 5,000 students enrolled in career technical classes, with 600 on the waitlist, so an expansion couldn’t come at a better time.
Finley also said more “college bound” students are taking them.
“We see even a lot of our students that are college bound, want to participate in our career technical program. A lot of these programs lead to four year degrees, for example advanced manufacturing” said Superintendent Finley.