BIRMINGHAM — It was a sort of while-we-have-your-attention moment for Pinson Mayor Hoyt Sanders.
The Jefferson County Board of Education honored Sanders and members of the city council at last Thursday’s meeting, so that they could be thanked personally for the city’s substantial financial support of its four schools — in particular the $50,000 it allocates each year to be split among those schools, as well as a traffic signal that the city paid to install in front of Pinson Valley High School.
But while he had the floor, Sanders let the board know about some things that needed attention at those schools, particularly at Rudd Middle School.
“I urge this board to be very mindful of our continued growth,” Sanders said. “Pinson Elementary is up 70 students in a three-grade school.... Rudd was built 35 years ago for 500 students. The un-air-conditioned gym and locker rooms are seriously undersized — they were undersized when I was there 34 years ago. And the library is essentially in an abandoned hallway.”
Superintendent Dr. Stephen Nowlin, who has previously toured the Pinson schools along with Sanders, took note of the growth in that part of the county as well as in Fultondale — two areas that he said will be in need of new projects in the near future.
“When we get to the point where we can start planning [new projects], we’ll be glad to get your input,” Nowlin said.
“Tell me how many acres you need,” Sanders replied.
The traffic signal, located at the entrance to PVHS on Alabama Highway 75, was made possible by a change in policy by the Alabama Department of Transportation, which permits cities to pay for such signals where traffic conditions otherwise don’t call for one. The installation cost a bit more than $100,000.
“We do put our money where our mouth is,” Sanders said.