New Construction

Ala. School Board Plans $98M in Capital Projects

Members of the Hoover school board in Hoover, Ala., met this week to discuss a series of upcoming capital projects totaling $98 million. Expenses over the next seven years are projected to include two new elementary schools, a 10-classroom addition to an existing elementary school, athletic and theater upgrades, 24 new school buses, and other maintenance projects.

These expenses, however, would cost the school system’s reserves more than $50 million by 2028. The board’s chief financial officer, Michele McCay, said this would leave the school system with enough cash to cover three months’ worth of emergency expenses—the bare minimum recommended by the state. However, the school system is already projected to have less than five months’ worth of reserve funds by 2024.

“We’re coming to the point where we have to make some pretty tough decisions,” McCay said. “We need to come up with additional sources of revenue in order to maintain the infrastructure that we have and provide the services that our citizens and our students deserve.”

USS Real Estate is in talks with the district to donate 100 acres of land to the Hoover Board of Education. School officials would still be responsible for construction and operation costs of the facilities built there. The exact plan for the land is still being decided, but the approved capital plan does call for two new elementary schools within the district.

“I don’t think there’s any question: If we take on two new elementary schools over the next few years, we’re going to have to have additional revenue to offset the loss of revenue that’s coming up sales taxes,” said school board member Craig Kelley.

Capital expenses planned during the next seven years include an upgrade to the Hoover High theater (2022), bathroom upgrades (2022), twelve new 72-passenger buses (2022), athletic upgrades at two middle schools (2023), flooring projects at three elementary schools (2023), an addition to the transportation building (2023), HVAC projects (2024), roofing and paving projects (2025), and other maintenance costs.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].