Construction will soon begin on the campus of Caldwell Elementary School for classroom additions and a new gymnasium. These projects are much needed and will enhance the instructional and safety needs of the students, faculty, staff and stakeholders at Caldwell Elementary School. During the latter part of 2021, information was shared at board meetings concerning the need for the classrooms. Many students have experienced significant learning loss due to school closure and extended remote learning periods due to the COVID pandemic.
Additionally, the Alabama Literacy Act requires specific individual student needs be addressed through varied small group lessons offered throughout the school day to assist students with maintaining reading standard proficiency by the end of 3rd grade. Since COVID, enrollment has also increased throughout the school system due to the influx of employment opportunities in Jackson County and the greater surrounding areas. As the instructional needs of the 1st grade – 3rd grade students changed, this caused the need to restructure the school day. The change in the schedule required more students to participate in P.E. at one time, and additional space is needed to meet the number of students in each class. On March 3, 2022, the board approved the classroom addition, and on April 21, 2022, a revised list of capital projects, including the auxiliary gym, was also board approved. Once these projects were board approved, Superintendent Amy Childress addressed the Mayor and City Council to request the use of the city’s credit rating to obtain a bond warrant to secure funds for these projects. On May 9, 2022, the City Council approved the new bond warrant and design plans for both projects began. On April 6, 2023, the board approved Mrs. Childress’s recommendation to award the bid for the Caldwell projects to Tolar Construction in the amount of $9,970,000.00.
The bid includes approximately 14,000 square feet consisting of 10 classrooms, a work room and restrooms. The auxiliary gym would consist of approximately 10,000 square feet, which would include about 8,500 square feet of play area. This gym would also better accommodate parents and families and allow space for programs and other events that are currently being held off campus.
The first stage of the construction process includes site preparation. Much work will need to be done on the campus prior to construction of the buildings. As our system began planning for these campus projects, it was discovered that a large water oak tree along Market Street posed potential safety hazards due to its placement on the campus and its condition. An arborist was hired to assess the condition of the tree. The arborist found a number of defects with the tree, including the following: an unbalanced crown, four growth cracks located within the tree, a five-degree lean towards Market Street, numerous stub branches, and decay pockets. Additionally, the system requested the Alabama State Forester to examine the tree.
His examination supported the arborist’s recommendation to remove the tree in maintaining the safety of the students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders of Caldwell Elementary School. On February 3, 2023, members of the Scottsboro City Schools Board approved the Superintendent’s recommendation to remove the tree. Scottsboro City Schools plan to partner with the tree commission and local master gardeners to plant a new tree in honor of the school’s rich history and tradition while embracing the need for the ever-changing school landscape that will continue to lay the foundation for learning to students in our community for many years to come. The project is scheduled to begin on June 1, 2023. The anticipated completion of the project is expected for the beginning of the 2024-25 school year.
Visitor access to Caldwell Elementary School during summer hours will be limited, but the office will be open to take phone calls and emails.