ELBERTA - Elberta High School had a lot to celebrate during November as it saw the opening of its brand-new wing. Students moved in a week prior to the ribbon cutting celebration that was held on Monday, Nov. 18, and saw a large crowd gathered in support of the school.
The new wing totals 66,860 square feet of new construction and includes 18 classrooms, three Career Tech classrooms, two Special Needs classrooms, two Science Labs (one Biology, one Chemistry), a Family and Consumer Science (FACS) classroom with a six station lab, an Ag classroom with a workshop, welding stations, and woodworking equipment, a Band classroom with storage, a Media Center with collaborative seating, two new parking areas totaling 198 spaces for student and staff parking, and security cameras incorporated into the entire campus. The total cost was $8.639 million.
“We’re here to celebrate and also to check a box, a very important box, on the addition here at Elberta High School,” said Superintendent Eddie Tyler. “We’ve been working on this for a long time and now it’s here, and it’s a beautiful new facility.”
Adams Stewart Architects designed the new wing, and Bayshore Construction was the contractor. Both have worked with the school board on a multitude of recent projects. The new addition to Elberta is part of the Baldwin County School Board’s “pay as you go” plan, which has been rolled out in phases to bring new additions to schools and new campuses to accommodate the recent growth. The plan has been instrumental in school constructions as it was designed to create debt-free expansions throughout the county.
“Through the efforts of our CFO John Wilson and managing our money well and our board having a vision and working with myself and our staff, these things are reality now,” Tyler said.
At each ribbon cutting ceremony a book is donated to the school’s library. This time Tyler presented “Bay Boy: Stories of a Childhood in Point Clear, Alabama” by Watt Key to be added to the new media center.
Principal Branton Bailey has even more plans for the campus as he looks forward to the future and the continued growth of the school.
“This is a community that is very strong in kindness,” he said. “This is a big day for Elberta. This building was thought of long ago, and a lot of people helped make it come together.”
The “pay as you go” phases began in 2015 after the school board gave approval on the project. On the horizon will be even more improvements and new constructions, including the completion of the Elberta High School parking lot and landscaping. Students have already taken their new facility to heart, helping with maintaining the construction and taking pride in their school. Along with school improvements, town improvements will follow.
“We were here when this was a dream, and it’s still a dream, but it’s a dream that’s come true,” said Mayor Jim Hamby. “This is a tremendous addition to the town of Elberta, it has created a level of sense of community that wasn’t here before. The town wants to do our part as well, and we will be paving the streets around the school including Illinois Street, School Street, and Chicago Street. We’re still going forward, still moving in the right direction, and still going to get even better.”
To learn more about Elberta High School, check out their website at www.bcbe.org/elbertahigh.