School board members say they would like to build a new elementary school and middle school on the same property for roughly $11 million. Currently, the middle school grades are split between the district’s elementary school and high school. But representatives with the firm said a site with a combination elementary/middle school would cost about $15 million.
“I know $11 million seems like a lot of money, but for what we’re going to do, it’s not,” said Walter McKee, speaking with McKee and Associates Architecture and Interior Design.
The firm is one of four presenting plans to the board. The other three firms will make their presentations on Sept. 9.
On Sept. 12, the board will host a public forum to discuss where the new school should be built.
Some residents want the school rebuilt at its current site, but the board is also considering building a new school on city-owned property across from the high school.
To accommodate the board’s budget, McKee presented five alternative plans.
One plan called for a new elementary school with a sixth-grade wing. Another would have the system build elementary and middle schools with separate classrooms and a joint cafeteria, gym and library.
Another would divide the elementary school grades, leaving grades four through six at Kitty Stone. And another would call on the board to build a new middle school and enhance the existing Kitty Stone campus.
The cost estimates for the alternative plans range from $10.8 million to $13.5 million.
During the presentation, McKee told the board the firm has completed $900 million in school construction since 1991. He said the company has worked for 71 school boards, designed 21 elementary schools and designed 17 middle schools.
Board President Mike Poe said the board plans to spend $7.6 million on a new school. They plan to supplement that, Poe said, with about $4 million the city is borrowing on the school district’s behalf.
The board has discussed the possibility of trimming the costs by building a new elementary school now and waiting until later to build a middle school. But board members say it’s important to have both schools for students.
“I think it just really boils down to cost,” Poe said.
Staff writer Laura Gaddy: 256-235-3544. On Twitter @LJohnson_Star.