The Colbert County school system’s administrative staff could be in the same building again as early as June 1 if renovations to their new facility stay on schedule.
Superintendent Anthony Olivis said the board recently accepted the low bid of $804,866 from Parallax Building Systems, of Florence, to renovate the building on U.S. 72 in Tuscumbia.
The unfinished facility at one time housed Ezell’s Barbeque Restaurant and the Pillow Factory store. The other spaces in the complex intended for retail space have remained empty.
The Colbert County Commission purchased the 8,500 square-foot building last summer for $400,000 and appropriated another $200,000 toward renovation costs.
Olivis said the bid wasn’t out of line with what he’d expected, though he hopes to tweak plans and get the cost lower for the system adding.
“We’d like to get it down below $800,000,” he said.
The building change resulted after mold was found in several sections of the facility.
Central office administrators are working out of split sites, some at Colbert Heights High School and others near Northwest-Shoals Community College in Muscle Shoals.
“It will be nice to have everyone back in the same building again,” Olivis said.
The school system is not borrowing money to fund the project but will use Section 16 land money and other capital outlay reserves.
“We’re very fortunate we’re not having to borrow money,” he said.
“The previous administration was a very good steward of the system’s money.”
School board president Linda Evans said the board appreciates the Colbert County Commission for its support of the school system and “for working with us to take care of this issue when we lost our building.”
She said in turn, the school system will continue to be prudent with its finances beginning with a commitment not to overspend on the new facility.
“We’ve guarded the money the past couple of years knowing we were going to have to do something about our building,” Evans said.
“We won’t be able to make this new building extravagant with all kinds of extras because we can’t afford that right now. That’s not to say that some of those things can’t come later. Above all, we’re going to protect our money.”
Olivis said he expects work to begin on the building by the end of this month.
Lisa Singleton-Rickman can be reached at 256-740-5735 or lisa.singleton-rickman@TimesDaily.com.