Officials, district leaders break ground on new Crestline Elementary
Hartselle City Schools broke ground Friday on the new Crestline Elementary School.
The highly anticipated project will see a 105,000 square-foot building – which packs a roughly $36 million price tag – replace the oldest school in the district.
It is slated to open in Aug. 2024.
The new school will provide 65 classrooms to accommodate more than 1,000 pre-kindergarten to fourth grade students. It will also include a separate drop-off for pre-k students, students with special needs and an enhanced carline capacity. The facility and site are designed to enable the addition of additional classrooms in the future.
A portion of the existing Crestline Elementary School will be demolished, while a portion will be retained as additional classrooms for Hartselle’s growing student population.
Crestline Building Committee Chairperson Randy Sparkman said he and his fellow city school board members are thrilled to get construction started, and appreciate the work and support of those who have been a part of it up to this point.
“This new elementary school is one more example of the priority this community continues to place on public education,” Sparkman said. “Hartselle families recognize the level of instructional opportunity Hartselle City Schools offers their children. They, in turn, are not only supportive of investment in the school district, but insist on it.”
Other officials and stakeholders echoed Sparkman’s sentiments.
“We are extremely excited that this day has arrived,” said school board member Daxton Maze. “This project has been in the making for some time, and the past year has been an extremely intensive, collaborative effort to get this project to the point of breaking ground. I want to extend a thank you to the architects, project managers, design team participants, administrators, and staff for their diligent work in the design of this school.
“Crestline has served our school system, our students, and our community well since its original construction in the 1950s,” Maze continued. “As education needs change and as Hartselle continues to grow, the expanded footprint of the new school will allow us to serve our rising student population in an environment that is conducive to high quality instruction. The scholastic expectation in Hartselle is excellence, and the new Crestline School will be a visual representation of the community’s desire to provide the best education possible for our kids.
Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) and Rep. Scott Stadthagen, who were both present at the event, worked together in 2019 to sponsor a local bill that directed the bulk of revenue from online sales tax, referred to as SSUT, received by the Morgan County Commission to local public schools. That bill was challenged by the commission, but its constitutionality was upheld by the Alabama Supreme Court in May.
“Education is the future of Morgan County,” Orr said. “If we aren’t doing education well, we won’t grow and prosper as a county. Dedicating this sales tax money, like that from bricks and mortar, has helped all three school systems improve the education of our children and thereby our future. Along with helping our volunteer fire firefighters throughout rural Morgan County.
“Hartselle’s doing what Hartselle does best – and that’s education,” he continued. “It realizes the importance of education for our students, that being said, this is not about a building. It’s about the young people who will come here for decades to get a well-reasoned and good educational foundation in Hartselle City Schools.”
For those who walk the halls every day at Crestline Elementary, this day has been a long time coming.
Christy Bennich was a student at the school from first to fifth grades in the 70s and has been a teacher there since 1995. She said there is a consensus among both the students and staff about the new school since its announcement in August 2021: pride and excitement.
“We’ve needed this for a long time,” Bennich said. “We’re excited to have this nice facility that we can share with the community and have one place for our pre-k students. It will be sad in some ways to see it gone because this building has been a staple in the community for 60 years, but change can be great.”
Auburn’s Bailey-Harris Construction will serve as the project’s general contractor that was designed by Davis Architects.