TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — As the old saying goes, you can have it fast, cheap or good — pick two. However, Tuscaloosa City Schools’ new northern middle school seems to be defying this rubric with not only nearing completion on time, but also under budget.
According to a report by the Tuscaloosa News, a new middle school facility, intended to bridge the student experience between a nearby elementary school and high school, has benefited from the diligence and sacrifice of its construction crew.
In December 2016, the Tuscaloosa City Board of Education approved a bid from Dominion Construction Inc. (also of Tuscaloosa) for a $2.5 million site plan for the new school. Construction on the new school began last spring with an initial budget of about $34 million, but, according to Executive Director of Facilities for Tuscaloosa City Schools Jeff Johnson, aspects of the construction have come in under budget. In total, the school system will likely only spend about $29.6 million.
For the past several months, construction crews have labored on the new school, which will accommodate about 900 students in 36 core classrooms, covering about 134,000 square feet. Despite some setbacks due to inclement weather, the construction schedule was only minorly affected and construction crews compensated by working weekends.
Over the coming months, crews will add the building’s second floor, install steel columns and lay the foundations for classrooms in the building’s interior. So far, however, the most evident aspect of the structure are the walls for the school’s gym. “The gymnasium is probably the biggest thing you will see right now,” Johnson told the Tuscaloosa News.
As part of the Tuscaloosa City Board of Education’s recently adopted five-year strategic plan, the educational facility will be located in Tuscaloosa at the intersection of Northridge Road and Arbor Ridge Road, near the existing Northridge High School and Verner Elementary.
An opportunity to celebrate this milestone will commence with a groundbreaking ceremony hosted by Tuscaloosa City Schools at the site on Sept. 27. The school is slated to open fall 2018.