Planning Commission Approves Possible Grissom High Property Plan


The current Grissom High School site on Bailey Cove Road. (WHNT News 19 file)

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Grissom High School is set to undergo major changes in the next few years, Tuesday evening there was another step in the process of selecting a new site that will be suitable for the new school.

During the Huntsville City Planning Commission meeting the owners of property on Weatherly Road that has been eyed as a possible site for the new Grissom High School were granted approval to create two separate lots with the property.

As we first reported last month the Hays family has offered the school board a brand new site, after concerns with some other property the school had targeted for the new school site. The property owners say the new site being offered for the school has several more benefits and value than the other site on Weatherly Road.  The new site is just south of the previous location, and is larger.

“The moving of this site will not cost you one dime,” said Ken Upchurch, a consultant heading the Grissom rebuild for the district told board members.

The previous site off Weatherly Road, west of Memorial Parkway, has areas containing artifacts of Native Americans, including burial grounds. That came to light after James and John Hays offered the 60-acre site to the district to use for the new Grissom High School.

“It’s been pretty interesting to see just how much not only the community rallied around this,” said Upchurch. “But the Hays family as a whole wanted to make this happen regardless of the roadblocks that continue to come up their way.”

The property is free of artifacts and burial sites, Upchurch said.  He told the board experts at the University of Alabama have confirmed it.

Neighbors voiced some concern over new development in the area and they want assurances the city will address possible flooding concerns before any new development is approved on the property. Members of the Chaffee Neighborhood Civic Association told planning commission members they want city engineers to take a good look at the runoff water that will come with any more development and how that water could impact local neighborhoods.

City planning staff said those concerns will be addressed if and when the land owner brings a formal subdivision plan to the board for approval in the future.

As for the Grissom High School that sits on Bailey Cove Road, Dr. Jennie Robinson says it will continue to serve the community positively. “The assurance is that whatever goes into that site will add value to the neighborhood,” said Robinson. “We’re not hanging a for sale sign on it, it’s not going to be an empty space.”

The school board has not voted on any land deal. The board  is expected to do so in the next few months.