BOE should build to last

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Andalusia Board of Education is reaching a pivotal point in a project it’s been talking about for almost a year – closing AMS and building new middle school facilities on the campuses of AES and AHS.

On Monday, the board plans to select an architect for those projects.

Members of the newspaper staff have listened with board members through hours of presentations from architects and considerable deliberation of the information presented so far.

This week, board members agreed to move up their timetable for selecting an architect, and asked for more concrete cost estimates. In early presentations, price per square foot estimates ranged from $90 per square foot to $135 per square foot. Most of the estimates were in the $130 per square foot range, which makes us leary of much-lower estimates.

While we are sympathetic to board members who must stretch the $5 million in funding they have secured for these projects, we hope they will not make their decisions on price only, but will make sure they choose a design for the long haul.

While the newer AES was designed for expansion, the AHS addition is trickier.

We like what architect Mike Hamrick told them in a June meeting, in talking about how much locals like the AHS building.

“Design a building so that in another 100 years, people say of it, ‘don’t monkey with that building.’ ”

Indeed, there has been an annex at AHS before, and a previous board voted to demolish it. We hope the board will select a design for the long haul, and not build another permanent, temporary building. Any addition should complement the stately old building that is the alma mater of so many, not look as if it has just been tacked on for a fix.