By Chris Kieffer
SHANNON – The construction of two new buildings at Shannon High School likely will begin shortly after students leave for the summer.
A new two-story classroom building and a cafeteria will be built at the school, funded by part of a $13.5 million bond issue approved by Lee County voters on July 30. The school district held a meeting at Shannon High on Monday night to update residents on the progress of the projects on that campus.
The goal is to review bids from that project in March. Construction would then begin with the demolition of the existing art building and football concession stand. A new 11,000-square-foot cafeteria will be build on that spot with space to seat at least 300 students and with a stage that can be used as an auditorium. A concession stand with restrooms will be added to the back of that building, which is expected to be completed before the start of the 2015-16 school year.
The school’s existing cafeteria and auditorium then would be demolished during the summer of 2015, and a new two-story classroom building will be built on its location.
That building will have about 11,900 square feet on each floor and will contain 19 classrooms. Next to it will be an ornate entrance to the school’s football field. Superintendent Jimmy Weeks said he hopes that phase will be completed in time for students to move into the new building in January 2017.
About 50 people attended Monday’s meeting, and Weeks said their questions were helpful as the district works with Pryor & Morrow architects to design the buildings. He noted one question about how a fire truck would have access to the new cafeteria.
“The questions were good,” Weeks said. “People want to be informed, and we will do everything we can to keep them informed in this process.”
The bond issue will fund projects at nine schools. The district already has approved the work at Plantersville Middle and is expected to accept bids for renovations at Saltillo Primary during today’s school board meeting.
The school district held a forum in November to provide Saltillo residents an update on the projects, and Weeks said it also will hold such meetings at Guntown and Mooreville. Dates for those meetings haven’t yet been set.