TES construction on schedule for July

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 28, 2000

News Editor

March 27, 2000 10 PM

Kindergarteners and kindergarten teachers have a brand new building to look forward to in the 2000-2001 school year if the construction at Troy Elementary School continues as scheduled.

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"If the weather cooperates and Whaley’s is able to get their supplies, we should be in by July 1," said Hank Jones, superintendent of the Troy City School System.

The $1.463 million project began in the fall of 1999 and is scheduled to be complete, and teachers moved in by mid summer. As of now, the construction is on schedule and is due to be ready just in time for the new school year.

The decision was made to make additions the elementary school to meet the student/ teacher ratio standards, and to avoid purchasing portable classrooms for the students. Although the current TES building is designed for the addition of six more classrooms, Jones said that still was not enough. The new building houses 12 additional classroom with the availability of adding two more wings with 12 more classrooms if necessary.

"Gov. Siegelman wanted to get rid of the all of the substandard classrooms, and this was the only thing we could really do," Jones said. "And we didn’t have enough classroom space for the number of teachers we have. We had four teachers who were working out of smaller rooms and were sharing classrooms with other teachers."

The student/teacher ratio is 18 to one for grades kindergarten through third, and 26 to one for grades four and five. Jones said once the classrooms are complete and kindergarten teachers move in the students will be redistributed to meet the ratio. He also said no additional teachers will be required at this time.

The construction at the elementary school was made possible in part by at $900,000 state bond issue and a leveraged bond issue of $1.2 million for capital outlay expenses for the schools.

Jones said a little less than 50 percent of the leveraged bond issue will be used to pay on the bond issue, and about $500,000 was used for the construction at Troy Elementary and the remainder for new roofs at the high school and other repairs.

"Using the money from the leveraged bond to repay the state bond is not something we like to do, but we had to do it," Jones said.

Jones said a committee worked together to prepare a capital needs list for the school and money from the leveraged bond issue had to be used to complete projects on that list. The construction at the new elementary school building and new roofs on the high school were on the top of the list compiled by the committee.

The new kindergarten building is built on part of 60 acres the school system already had in possession, and Jones said they were fortunate the site did not call for a lot of preparation. The new building consists of two wings with 12 classrooms, a small media center, and administrative area, and a cafeteria which will be served from the high school.

The blue prints for the building are already drawn for two additional wings if they are needed in the future.

Jones said he is confident and hopeful the building will be ready for the teachers to move in by June 1. He said plans are for the first two weeks of June to get the kindergarten teachers in the new building and get other teachers ready in the current building.

"June is going to be a busy month," Jones said. "We have to get everyone set up in their classrooms by mid June because we have been selected as a reading site and are hosting the Alabama Reading Initiative the end of the month. We will have about 300 teachers, including our own, from southeast Alabama here. We want to have everyone settled in by then."

Although Jones is sure everything will be ready on time he has a contingency plan just in case.

"Worst case scenerio we will start kindergarten a little late," he said. "Kindergarten is the only grade we can do that with, but I don’t think it will come to that."