Schools ready for new year
Tracy L. Brady, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle students may not be ready to trade their swimsuits in for textbooks today, but the Hartselle School System is ready to dive into the new school year.
Hartselle Schools Superintendent Dr. Lee Hartsell said the biggest concern facing parents at the start of this school year is construction on Nance Ford Road near Barkley Bridge Elementary.
"With only one lane of traffic, cars will back up quickly," Hartsell said. "I would advise parents to avoid this area for the next month or two, until construction is complete, and take alternate roads like Groover and Higdon. Parents will see a real improvement once the turn lanes and traffic lights have been installed in that area."
ALDOT is currently widening Nance Ford Road, installing traffic lights at Pattillo Street and Barkley Bridge Road and Nance Ford Road, improving drainage and creating turn lanes to improve access to Barkley Bridge Elementary School.
Jeff Johnson, building inspector for the city of Hartselle, said the project has taken four years and $600,000 to achieve.
"The improved intersections will better serve residents and students of Barkley Bridge Elementary," Johnson said. "Construction in this area will stop one-half hour during morning school traffic and afternoon school traffic. We anticipate the project to be completed in 60 days or less."
Bus routes will continue to run in areas affected by the construction. Students will be notified in advance if any changes are to be made to those routes.
In other business, Hartsell said a new second grade class has been added at Burleson Elementary this year. A third grade class may be added next year.
However, Hartsell doesn't anticipate a noticeable overall increase in student enrollment for the 2002-2003 school year.
"The system increased by 40 students last year," Hartsell said. "Our enrollment is based on space available, so I don't expect to see much of an increase when we get the numbers in on Monday."
According to Hartsell, the school system has lost nine or 10 teachers in the last two years due to proration. Despite the staff decrease, Hartsell is confident the system is ready to accommodate the needs of students, parents and staff this school year.
"We are set and ready to go," Hartsell said. "We are anticipating another great school year for Hartselle City Schools."