‘Bold vision’

CCPS, CMS break ground on new additions

Cullman City Schools and City of Cullman officials gather to break ground on a new addition to Cullman City Primary School aimed at adding new classroom space and several critical new additions. (Photo courtesy of Cullman City Schools)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman City Schools kicked off two of its most ambitious expansion projects in years on Tuesday, with work officially underway on expansive additions at Cullman City Primary School and Cullman Middle School. The projects will bring much-needed classroom space, as well as safety features including tornado shelters similar to the ones incorporated in the Cullman High School redesign several years ago.

This is a huge day for the Cullman City School System and City of Cullman. I am proud of this School Board, their determination and forward thinking. Groundbreaking on the Cullman City Primary and Cullman Middle School projects today is the beginning of making what was once a bold vision into a promising reality,” Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff said. “This vision would not be possible without our supportive stakeholders including the Cullman City Council and mayor, who are working collaboratively with us to make sure we are providing great learning spaces for our current students and the future students of our school system.”

The primary school project is set to add 12 new classrooms in a wing that can also double as a tornado shelter, along with a new cafeteria and multipurpose space. There are also plans to repurpose the existing cafeteria into classroom space. Cullman City Primary School Principal Patricia Culpepper noted the expansion will allow the system to eventually have second graders move to the primary school, as opposed to East and West Elementary Schools, where they currently attend. Construction is expected to last approximately 18 months.

“Today’s groundbreaking at CCPS is a very exciting time for our system. With this addition, we will be able to have our second grade CCS students on our campus. Early learning research indicates that this configuration is most beneficial for our youngest learners,” Culpepper explained. “The addition of a gymnasium, larger lunchroom and media center will enable our school to have more activities and programs on our campus and this will benefit our families and the Cullman community. The Primary School will be the hub of early learning for our system, and we will continue to develop and grow students and our staff here at CCPS.”

At Cullman Middle School, new construction will add a new wing with 16 classrooms which will also double as a tornado shelter on campus. A new performing arts space, library agriscience space and administrative offices are also in the works. Once work is complete, sixth grade students will attend Cullman Middle School. Sixth graders currently attend East and West Elementary under the system’s current configuration. Construction will be divided into two phases, with construction set to be complete in three years. 

“We’re so excited to have this new facility and we think it will make a tremendous difference for our students,” Cullman Middle School Principal Jake Johnson said. “One really interesting thing is the old red oak trees that we had to remove, we’re having that wood turned into some type of decor or furniture we’ll use at the school. So that’s a great way to honor that history.”

Cullman City Schools Board President Amy Carter said she has been looking forward to getting these projects off the ground ever since she decided to run for school board more than two years ago.

“Building two schools at one time seemed impossible but here we are. I am so thankful for our board, Superintendent, CFO, administrators and city leaders for every individual role in making this happen. With growth comes change and progress is never comfortable,” she said. “This is only the beginning of the great things we have planned for Cullman City Schools. Our children are our greatest resource and we, as a board, will do our best to assure that every child in CCS has the best learning opportunity in the State of Alabama. We are truly grateful.”

Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff added these long-needed projects will help maintain Cullman City Schools’ place as one of the best school systems in the State of Alabama, and thanked educators and local families for their patience while the work takes place in the coming years.

“As we embark on these two projects, it is important that we keep the end in mind. Construction will be uncomfortable at times, but the end result will be well worth the growing pains,” he said. “It is also important that we continue to think proactively as our community grows. Serving our students in an up-to-date safe environment, maintaining our high academic standard, and a strong emphasis on the arts and athletics will continue to be our focus.”

Cullman City Schools and City of Cullman officials gather to break ground on a new addition to Cullman Middle School aimed at adding new classroom space and several critical new additions. (Photo courtesy of Cullman City Schools)