By Tommi O. Peters
For The Tribune
The two-story, 27,000 square foot addition to HTMS expected to be completed one year from the initial groundbreaking which is anticipated for early October, according to a statement provided by Superintendent Dr. Pattie Neill’s office.
While growth can often be predicted through enrollment numbers at the elementary school level, several families with children at the middle school level moved into the area over the past few summers. The unexpected growth has placed HTMS enrollment of 1149 students just beyond the school’s official capacity of 1100, expediting the need for expansion.
In compliance with state law, the first-floor classroom addition is a hardened area that will also serve as a 660 square foot storm shelter. As with the other four TCS storm shelters, after-hours community access will be made available in case of a tornado warning polygon that includes Trussville.
As all debt for Paine Elementary was paid off this year, capital funding was then freed up to reallocate to other construction needs within the school system. It’s important to note that capital funding is typically earmarked for building projects and cannot be used for salaries or personnel.
The addition will be located behind the hallway largely dedicated to sixth-grade classes. Space will include ten classrooms, restroom facilities, a teacher workroom and a fine arts section dedicated to the growing band program.
The new band space will allow for anticipated growth in the program and will also include various practice rooms.
“With over 500 students participating in band, they’ve simply outgrown their current space. And while I love that we have winning sports teams, I believe that fine arts are also a vitally important part of offering a well-rounded middle school experience,” shared City Councilman and School Board liaison Jef Freeman.
Readers may recall that in April of 2018, Trussville City Schools was named as one of the Best Communities for Music Education for the third year running. Designations for this honor are made to districts and schools that demonstrate an exceptionally high commitment and access to music education.
“It’s really impressive to see the musical talent that is coming out of the middle school band program. The Band Director there, Brandon Peters, has done remarkable things. Everything I hear is that he is a big reason that the kids want to be involved in the program. Apparently, he’s just a heck of a motivator and recruiter. And the kids love him,” offered Freeman.
Per the statement from Dr. Neill’s office, the current band room will be used as a multi-purpose room for educational activities, Fine Arts classes, athletic programs, and teacher professional development.