190805 Kilby Construction 2

Utility work is being done that is part of construction at Kilby School. [MATT MCKEAN/TIMESDAILY]

FLORENCE — Crews have been busy outside Kilby Laboratory School this week finishing work in an area that will soon hold four portable classrooms, according to the school’s director, Eric Kirkman.

The classrooms, expected to arrive after school hours by the end of the week, will face North Pine Street.

Kirkman said they will be placeholders for a planned expansion in the future.

“We’re exploring the options right now, but the hope is that we can look to potentially building a new facility, a new building,” he said. “That’s nothing definite, but we won’t be building onto this existing building.”

The expansion is the result of an increase in the student population, which Kirkman attributes to an influx of young faculty at the University of North Alabama.

“The overall face of the university is changing,” he said. “As people are being hired, that’s just a nice advantage that UNA faculty children have the opportunity to come to Kilby, and in most instances, that has definitely created an increase in the number of students that attend.”

Kilby serves students from kindergarten to sixth grade. Kirkman said first-graders will use one of the portable classrooms, while two others will be used for art classes and STEAM lab activities.

The fourth classroom will likely be used for auxiliary instruction this year, he added.

After the classrooms arrive, additional work will need to be done to prepare them for students. Kirkman said that includes electrical, plumbing and internet connectivity.

Wheelchair-accessible ramps will also be added to each of the portable classrooms.

“We’re hoping to get (the students) in around the second week of September,” he said.

Earlier plans set the work’s completion date sooner, but Kirkman said those plans had to be revisited when bidding issues on the state’s end held things up.

“We were waiting on the plans to be approved by the state, and that just took longer than we initially anticipated,” he added.

Kirkman said he is looking forward to seeing what changes take place as officials manage the growth of Kilby’s student body.

“Change is sometimes hard, but it’s necessary,” he said. “We’re very excited about the growth that’s taking place at Kilby. We realize that it’s a process, but it’s a necessary process as we grow.”

—kendyl.hollingsworth@timesdaily.com or 256-740-5757. Follow on Twitter @TD_KendylH

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