North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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April 23, 2014

Jefferson County school board to expand Fultondale Elementary

FULTONDALE — Students and faculty at Fultondale Elementary School may be in for some relief from the overcrowding that has plagued the school almost since it opened.

The Jefferson County Board of Education will use part of the proceeds from a grant from the Jefferson County Commission, which it approved earlier this year.

The money comes from a bond issue that is being paid for with a 1-cent county sales tax increase, promoted by then-Commission President Larry Langford. More than a billion dollars for capital improvements, such as new schools, has been raised by the project.

The most recent allocation to JefCoEd comes to about $7.9 million. Of that, roughly $700,000 will go to the Trussville City Schools, which broke away from the county system since the bond issue was instituted.

Of the remainder, Supt. Dr. Stephen Nowlin said that much of that will go toward the construction of additional classrooms at Fultondale, which will replace several portable classrooms that have been in use for some time.

“It will need to be about 10 to 15 classrooms, plus some additional space,” Nowlin said. “We hope to get started this summer, but the board hasn’t officially approved it yet. If they do, we’ll try to get it done for the next school year in ’15. I’m not sure it can happen, but we’ll try.”

The board moved sixth-grade students to Fultondale High School at the start of the current school year, in an attempt to alleviate the overcrowding. Nowlin said that a decision has not yet been made on what to do with the sixth grade after the elementary school expansion is completed.

Another expansion to come from the bond money will be a new kitchen and lunchroom at Kermit Johnson Elementary, which has had its classroom space expanded over the years, but not its food service — currently, students have to begin lunch as early as 10 a.m. at the school. That project is already approved by the board.

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