BIG PLANS FOR AHS
Published 12:01 am Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Members of Andalusia’s Public Educational Building Authority on Monday publicly unveiled their plans for proposed renovations to the AHS auditorium, softball field, and Andalusia Municipal Stadium.
The Authority members Dr. Charles Eldridge, Steve Posey and Paul Sue Duebelt have already gotten commitments for $450,000 in private contributions for the projects.
“We also have grants in the area of about $1 million, and local funding of approximately $1 million,” Eldridge said. “We feel like we have available a total of more than $2.5 million to go toward overall projects.”
Eldridge said the existing facilities are fine structures.
“But they were built years and years ago,” he said. “They are still functional, but people in charge didn’t feel like they created an optimal environment for our kids. The environment a child works and competes in improves their achievement and pride in their school. All of those are things we think are important.”
Some of the contributions are earmarked for specific projects, he said.
“To date, we have received more toward the auditorium than other projects,” he said. “We have gotten input from coaches, teaches, and parents. It will be (the school board’s) final decision as to what, and how it will be done. The letting of contracts is your business. Our job is to aid you in getting to the point where we can get started.”
Architect Chuck Jones from Goodwyn Mills and Cawood briefly reviewed preliminary plans.
The auditorium project includes an addition to the front lobby, with separate lobby areas designated for the auditorium and gymnasium. New restrooms will accommodate both facilities.
New seats will be installed in the auditorium, with new house lighting.
The current stage area would be removed, and a new one built with storage, dressing areas, and a multipurpose room behind the stage. Jones said it is possible the multipurpose room could double as a shared VIP area for future improvements to the stadium and pressbox.
The estimated cost is $3.5 million, he said, adding that once plans are approved by the state building commission, the project is expected to take 12 to 14 months.
The stadium plans include construction of a new, state-of-the-art pressbox, and moving the field closer to the home stands, with the track being removed. Jones said the new softball field recently built at AHS will be integrated into the stadium project. It also includes a new entrance to the stadium, and a field house.
Eldridge said fundraising efforts will continue, and recognized Donna Raines, Bob O’Neal, and Carolyn Graham, who are part of the fundraising team.
“For Andalusia and our area to have raised right at a half million in contributions, speaks highly of oiur citizenry, and the love they have for their high school and school district,” Eldridge said.
Board members took no action on the project. Superintendent Ted Watson said the board will formalize plans to move the project forward after it is determined that funding is available.