Barnette gives update on CCBOE projects

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(Tiffany McKoy/The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Cullman County Schools system spans a vast geographical area with multiple campuses, each with unique needs and characteristics, and the Cullman County School Board (CCBOE) is challenged with maintaining and enhancing facilities to provide students with optimal learning environments. Here, Superintendent Dr. Shane Barnette gives an update on the progress in recent years, emphasizing the district’s unwavering commitment to every school community, regardless of size or location.

According to Barnette every school received new exterior and interior lighting. It is projected that the new lighting will save the district about $200,000 per year.  

Barnette highlighted two significant projects at Hanceville Elementary School and Good Hope Middle School. Good Hope Middle School recently underwent a substantial renovation that included the construction of a new gymnasium and library, while Hanceville Elementary School received new classrooms plus a new lunchroom. This transformation not only elevates the schools’ aesthetic appeal, but also significantly improves safety and functionality. Barnette noted, “We’re not just improving the look of the schools; we’re making it a safer and more functional place for our students and staff.”

Hanceville Ag building (Ty Watwood)

At Vinemont High School, the district addressed overcrowding issues by repurposing an existing library space into a state-of-the-art science lab and special education classrooms. Roof replacements are on the horizon for Vinemont High School and West Point Elementary School, affirming the district’s commitment to providing safe and energy-efficient learning spaces. West Point Middle School will be getting air conditioning in the gym as well.

Holly Pond High School is set to welcome a new welding center, expected to be completed by the end of October. The school also initiated renovations to its field house and an important project to enclose classrooms that open to the outside, addressing flooding concerns and bolstering student safety.

Recently, Holly Pond Elementary School completed a significant HVAC upgrade, reflecting the district’s dedication to providing students with modern facilities and resources. Barnette emphasized, “Our students deserve to learn in environments that support their growth and success.”

The district has also embarked on crucial upgrades in high schools, including the replacement of outdated window units with modern, energy-efficient HVAC systems. Barnette highlighted the significance of this move, saying, “Replacing these window units not only enhances the school’s appearance, but also ensures a more comfortable and conducive learning environment.”

Fairview schools have actively pursued renovations and maintenance projects. Roof replacements at Fairview High School have been completed, with plans for additional roof work in the future. A major remodel of Fairview High School’s family and consumer sciences and agricultural facilities is also in the works.

Parkside and Harmony schools have also undergone important infrastructure upgrades, with HVAC system replacements and plans for air conditioning installations in their gymnasiums.

Good Hope Primary School, Cold Springs High School and the Cullman Area Technology Academy are set to benefit from various projects. Good Hope Primary School will see the addition of a new playground, and the gym will be getting air conditioning.

At Cold Springs High School the new gymnasium is expected to be completed by the end of October. Additionally, several classrooms with aging windows are receiving renovations, with insulated windows and upgraded HVAC systems, improving both energy efficiency and classroom safety.

Cold Springs gymnasium (Ty Watwood)

The Cullman Area Technology Academy is undergoing some changes, featuring a glass entryway and LED lighting. Plans include the installation of interactive kiosks to educate students and the community about local business and job opportunities. A new digital panel sign will also be erected, displaying videos showcasing the various shop programs at the center.

The Child Development Center (CDC) has also seen expansion. A classroom has been remodeled to simulate real-life experiences for older CDC students, focusing on self-sufficiency skills such as cooking and laundry. Barnette highlighted, “Our CDC students are gaining valuable life experiences that will serve them well in the future.”

Barnette underlined that the district’s ability to execute these projects two years ahead of schedule stems from smart financial planning and decision-making. He acknowledged the challenges of managing a district with multiple schools spread across the region, each with its unique needs and community dynamics. Despite these challenges, the district continues to prioritize maintaining and improving facilities to provide students with the best possible learning environments.

“I need to brag on our maintenance staff. Our maintenance guys, which is a small staff, are repairing and fixing things on a daily basis. They’re maintaining our schools unbelievably well,” Barnette stated.

“I’ll also brag on our board. Our board is so supportive in getting these capital projects completed. I feel good that we’ve done more over the last five years than we have in the previous years. Coming up, we have more planned over the next three to four years than we’ve done probably in the history of Cullman County Schools. It’s a great time to be a part of Cullman County Schools, there’s no doubt,” Barnette said.

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