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Hartselle Enquirer

Priceville High ready for business

PHS ambassadors Phillip Goodwin, Hannah Wheeler, Briley Graves, Abby Hensley and Mark McLendon greet visitors for the Open House at PHS. | Randy Garrison
PHS ambassadors Phillip Goodwin, Hannah Wheeler, Briley Graves, Abby Hensley and Mark McLendon greet visitors for the Open House at PHS. | Randy Garrison

Randy Garrison

Hartselle Enquirer

 

Students of Priceville were able to walk the halls of the new high school last Fri., April 29, many seeing the inside of the new facility for the first time. According to PHS principal, Mark Mason, students were transported to the new school by grade level. Mason said the students were wowed when they walked through the new school.

“The gym really impressed the kids,” Mason mentioned. They were also excited about the library where they can be comfortable and study at the same time. Mason also mentioned there was now space for conference rooms in the administrative area and in the library as well.

According to Mason, the custodial staff had been working at the new school last week getting everything looking good for the students to come in and the Open House that was held Sun., May 1.  All seems to be working well, Mason said, but there are a few things that will have to be corrected.

The new field house has also passed substantial completion and should be ready to occupy when spring practice begins on May 9. The practice field is not ready so the players will practice on the actual game field at Priceville Elementary.

Priceville High currently has

an enrollment of 440, but Mason thinks they will see 500 soon, with out of district students wanting to attend the new facility.

Superintendent Bill Hopkins Jr. is excited the project is almost finished and he feels confident the school is safe. Despite a recent lawsuit challenging the building’s safety, which has been dismissed, the Alabama Building Commission has signed off saying the building is safe. In fact, a third party has checked the five areas that were of concern to the previous architectural firm and the engineering firm. In fact the walls that were of concern by the architect have been x-rayed as well.

Both the Morgan County Board of Education and the Alabama Building Commission believe the building is safe for students. In fact, it has been mentioned that this has been the most inspected school building project ever.

Priceville High Ambassadors were all smiles as they greeted visitors entering for the Open House on Sunday afternoon. Senior Marc McLendon says he is excited to be able to attend the new school, even if just for two weeks.

Parents, students, school officials and others walked the halls of the new school admiring the new facility sitting on North Bethel Rd. MCBOE Chairman Paul Holmes said it was good to have the great turnout to see the new school. “I am excited that the students can move in this week,” Holmes said.

Teacher Lennetta Jenkins, who teaches math, is excited about the new technology; all of the clean and new furnishings, and the fact the school has Internet capacity. Jenkins pointed to the LED displays that are installed in each room.

School board member Tom Earwood said, “This is the most inspected school in the state of Alabama. It is a great relief to make the transition. The community has something they can hang their hat on and be proud of.”

Ninth grader Chase Holloway says he is glad they are finally getting to move in. Tenth grader Ivy Judd is excited, “the new school is bigger, more accessible and comfortable.”

Head football coach Dirk Strunk says the new practice field is beautiful. In addition to coaching, Strunk also teaches social studies and PE.

Board member Mike Tarpley commented, “ We are proud of our beautiful new school at Priceville, we have a school the community and kids can be proud of.”

Board member Billy Rhoads and his wife Ruby were touring the school Sunday afternoon as well. Rhoads said he is glad the building is ready to occupy and he hopes the people of Priceville are proud of the new facility.

Erik Kallas, project manager for Bagggette Construction, builder of the school says he is glad this day has come. “ I am proud of the school we have built and glad the students are now in and can enjoy it as much as we have enjoyed building it.”

Kallas also mentioned the storm shelters built into the new school and the protection they will offer in the event of a storm. He mentioned the tornado that moved very close to the school just a few weeks ago.

Head basketball coach Darrell Haynes said, “I can’t wait to get into the new gym next season. I am excited the kids have a nice place to play and practice.” The main gym sports an overhead scoreboard such as is usually found in a college gymnasium.

The auxiliary gym also has a stage and will be used for productions.

Senior Johndale Motes says he is jealous of the juniors who will get to attend the school for their entire senior year. He said the school is so much more modern than the old one. Mike and Dawn Runager and their tenth grader, Garrett, were checking out the science labs. They are excited about the new school and mentioned that all of the students will now be able to use the labs, since this was not always possible at the old school.

Media Specialist Patrick Sularin, said the possibilities the new library offers students is very exciting. “They will have so much information at their fingertips,” Sularin mentioned. Increased school pride will also come with moving into the new school, he also mentioned. The school will also be a focal point for the community.

Principal Mason says the school reminds you of a college or university. You have a good feel inside the building and the digitals signage is great also. Wi-Fi will also be available in the school.

While there will be empty rooms, Mason hopes to be able to add engineering, business education and another science teacher in the future. Also plans for expansion were included in the plans with space already laser graded and prepared for another wing, when that becomes necessary.

Students will attend classes for the first time Thur., May 5. AP Testing will be occurring May 2 and 4, ACT make-up for juniors will take place May 3. Testing was originally scheduled in April but was moved due to the death of Priceville student Carmen Johnson. While the original plans to occupy the school for the entire 2015-2016 school year, all the students interviewed are glad to be able to attend, even if only for a short while.

 

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