EDITORIAL: School site is big deal
The complexity of the planning process for a new high school in Priceville is making itself known to the Morgan County School Board with each passing day.
First, there was the matter of choosing an architect to draw plans for the facility. A choice was made to stick with a local architectural firm and now everyone is anxiously awaiting the first plans to come off of the drawing board.
Next will come the decision to sell general obligation warrants to finance the project. An investment banker and bond attorney have been contracted and the bonds could be put on the market in the near future.
Finally, the board is faced with choosing a site for the proposed new school. This seemed to be a non-issue seven months ago when the Town of Priceville donated the county a tract of land for the new school. This land, which is located close to North Park on the north side of town, has since lost some of its popularity due to a lack of infrastructure. The land is not accessible to an existing paved road and school officials are concerned that the cost of building a roadway would make the site undesirable.
Meanwhile, three other parcels of land in the same general area have been brought into the picture. All three have paved road access, and one of them adjoins the campus of Priceville Elementary School.
Board members have briefly discussed the merits of these three parcels without addressing either the cost of the properties or how well they will accommodate the increased traffic that will come with a new high school.
Hartselle City School District was in a similar situation two years ago when it was making plans for a new high school. Two sites were considered with ingress and egress in the short term not being a major consideration. Consequently, the school will open next year with an already busy two-lane highway carrying most of the traffic to and from the school. A North Hartselle bypass, which would give easy access to the campus, is in the making but it could be years before it becomes a reality.
The Morgan County School Board would be wise to give the traffic issue much thought and consideration in planning for the new Priceville High School.