Growing pains for the Baldwin County school system have not subsided with a new school year.
“We haven’t lost enrollment,” says new superintendent Eddie Tyler, “we’ve increased and we’re still over 30 thousand.”
More space is needed but a lack of funds has the school board looking for different ways to pay for construction. Now, a pay as you go plan is being considered. “What we have is what we have. It is several million dollars that have been stowed away just for this purpose,” says Tyler.
15 million dollars to be exact to add classrooms, cafeteria space and other renovations to half a dozen schools.
“They took the greatest need, based on overcrowding and the number of portables. Along with the number of portables also is there is health and safety issues,” explains Tyler.
When more funds are available, Spanish Fort and Robertsdale High Schools would add classrooms and a conversion of Elberta Middle School into a high school would begin. The cost 22.4 million dollars.
New schools in Gulf Shores, Foley, Bell Forest and on Highway 31 is next on the list costing 92.1 million dollars.
Rounding out the plan, 24.9 million dollars in upgrades and additional classrooms to schools throughout the county. A total of 139 and a half million dollars for school construction.
“We need relief all over the system but in feeder patterns like Foley, Gulf Shores, Spanish Fort, Fairhope they have grown tremendously and the others are seeing growth.”
If the school board agrees with the proposal, construction could start as early as next spring.