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Red Bay City Council discusses phase one for new school

While all schools can expect changes during the back-to-school time, this year Red Bay will have more changes than usual coming throughout the year.

Red Bay City Council met July 31 with Franklin County Superintendent Greg Hamilton to discuss phase one of a two-part plan to rebuild Red Bay.

Hamilton said the Franklin County Board of Education is already accepting bids to start on phase one of the plan. Bids will close Aug. 13, and the Board of Education will approve the bid at its next meeting Aug. 20.

Hamilton said he expects phase one to cost about $1.8 million and continue for a period of 12 months. Once the bid has been approved, Hamilton said construction will start immediately.

Not all information about what will be included in the renovation is currently available, but the total project is expected to add 10 new classrooms and allow room for at least 200 additional students.

Phase one will include tearing down the current family and consumer sciences building and agriculture shop to make room for phase two. Hamilton said the project is being done in phases so other areas of the building can be used and students will not have to move to trailers.

Bids will go out for phase two while phase one is still being completed.

The funds for phase one will be primarily provided by the Board of Education, but Hamilton asked the city councilmembers if they would be willing to make 12 monthly payments of $10,000 to go toward the completion of phase one. Hamilton said this amount, $120,000, would be around 8 percent of the total project.

Members of Red Bay City Council said they were not expecting to put forward so much money into phase one, and Mayor Charlene Fancher said she would like reassurance 

that phase two will be approved too.

The Franklin County Board of Education is only looking to approve phase one of construction at its Aug. 20 meeting.

“It’s our job to be good stewards of the city’s money,” Fancher said. “Things do happen, and we’ve all seen it.”

Hamilton said he did not have an answer to reassure Fancher the school will be completed, but he said this is a project he cares about and plans to see through.

“I have been working and pushing for this for two years,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton said Red Bay is currently at capacity, but he expects the new construction to allow for more students. The new project would include the latest technology and renovations on the exterior and interior.