School system wants to build, upgrade, and renovate

SHELBY COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - By Sherea Harris

SHELBY COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - Slow economy or not, Shelby County schools are having growing pains and wants expansion. The system grew by more than 400 students in the past year.

Many of  the schools are running out of space for the students. School leaders are hoping to solve the problem. Right now to accommodate growth, portables are at many Shelby County schools including Pelham High.

The Shelby County School System expects to grow by 3000 students in the next six years and officials say they have to be ready for it.

The plan is to build new schools in Alabaster, Chelsea, Calera and Helena. None of this will happen without taxpayers being on board. The school system is hoping that voters will renew the 30-mill of property tax in next week's election, which will fund the new school construction.

"One of the things we are right in the middle of is defining those plans," said Assistant Superintendent Tom Ferguson. "(We are) Looking at grades levels, looking at portables, looking at the needs in each of these growth areas."

Barbara Smitherman, a parent,  said, "I think it's better for them to have more schools where it won't be so overcrowded (and children can) have more one on one time with the teachers."

If the tax passes and all goes as planned, new school construction will start in fall 2012.

Not only would this plan include new schools, but there will be upgrades and renovations to some existing schools in the county.

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