Hartselle City Schools experience growth
System plans for new school building for Crestline
To accommodate the recent growth in Hartselle, as well as to anticipate the influx of future students, Hartselle City Schools is in the early stages of planning for a new Crestline Elementary School.
HCS Superintendent Dr. Dee Dee Jones said Hartselle could see much more growth with the building of the Toyota Mazda plant in Huntsville.
“We were told (at a Regional Workforce Development Meeting) that Hartselle could gain up to 900 families – and that was on the small side,” she said.
More than 200 homes are being built in Hartselle, and Jones said she only sees that number growing.
Built in the late ’50s, Crestline is the system’s oldest building, and Jones said there are some issues that need to addressed sooner rather than later.
“A decision has to be made,” Jones said. “Do we invest money – and we’re talking millions of dollars – into Crestline for roofing, windows, plumbing, flooring and electrical work, or do we build from the ground up?”
The new building would remain on Crestline Drive.
“One great thing about all of it is we won’t have the land prep we would if we were buying new,” Jones said. “There’s plenty of property there, and we already have a playground. Utilities are there, so there is a lot in place that will save us when it comes to expenses.”
Jones said Hartselle’s elementary schools are quickly becoming crowded, and a new school would offset that growth as well as incentivize more in the future.
“People are moving to Hartselle, and that’s great, but we need to take steps now to accommodate that growth, and one way to do that would be build a new Crestline,” she said.
As an added benefit, Jones said the current building could be repurposed to house Hartselle’s 126 Pre-K students.
“We have seven Pre-K schools in Hartselle, but they’re spread out amongst our schools,” she said. “This would put them all in one place and relieve some of the overcrowding in the other two schools.”
The project, which Jones said she would like to see completed by 2025, could cost between $16-22 million dollars, most of which would likely come from the state if a bond is issued during this legislative session.
Bradley Colburn, chief school financial officer, said the last bond issued was in 2007. “It’ll be a bond of more than $1 billion,” he said. “They will divvy out a piece of that pie to each school system, and there’s no burden of cost to the schools, and the school system can decide which projects receive state funds.”
“And we don’t have to pay that money back,” Jones added. “For Hartselle, it would be $8 million dollars … and we could dump all of that into this project. A new Crestline might cost $16-22 million, and if we got $8 million, that takes care of half or nearly half of the total cost.”
Hartselle City Schools would be responsible for the remaining balance, Jones said.
Colburn said a decision about the bond issuance should be made by April or May.
Constructing a new, modern building could also relieve some of the traffic congestion in the area, Colburn added. “We would restructure the way traffic flows to keep people off Highway 36 where it gets so bad in the afternoons,” he said.
“We want to do what’s right for our students and give them the best and make sure they have what they need to grow and succeed,” Jones said. “There are several positive things that this would bring to the community.”