Local School Systems Unveil $297 Million Capital Improvement Plan

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – School leaders in Huntsville, Madison and Madison County unveiled a three-year-plan to bring $297 million worth of upgrades to local schools on Monday.

It’s all thanks to BRAC Bond funds each system is receiving, along with added internal investments.

Superintendents of Huntsville, Madison and Madison County Schools say the funds provide them with a competitive edge.  Officials say new buildings and renovations are the most obvious benefit, but not the only one.

“It all revolves around workforce readiness,” said Dr. Casey Wardynski, Superintendent of Huntsville City Schools.  “Thanks to our elected officials, our key leaders in our community, and of course our voters, we have the resources to get that job done and make sure that we have the most capable workforce in the United States both today and into the future.”

Dr. Wardynski said the funding would help pay for a new Johnson High School and some of the new elementary schools being built.

City and county leaders said the money will show the area’s dedication to improvement education.

“I know of no other community in the country making this type of commitment to new schools,” said Dale Strong, Chairman of the Madison County Commission. “This announcement will transform our community and put us squarely in the national spotlight as we continue to recruit new industry and attract the technology jobs of tomorrow.”

The bulk of the capital improvement funding comes from BRAC Bond legislation passed by the Alabama Legislature.  Officials say the improvements to local schools will also strengthen Redstone Arsenal’s position for the next round of Base Realignments and Closures in 2015.

“The quality of public schools is considered a vital national security issue, especially where military and defense-connected students are enrolled,” said Maj. Gen. (Ret.) James R. Myles, Senior Vice President of DynAviation, DynCorp International.  “Public schools will be a factor in future Base Realignment and Closure decisions, and they are a factor for defense contractors who are considering bringing jobs to Alabama. New and renovated facilities send a strong message to decision makers, to employers and to parents about the community’s commitment to public education.”