The Enterprise City Council and Enterprise City Board of Education met in a joint work session Monday evening to discuss the possibility of once again holding classes in the College Street Elementary School building during the 2018-2019 school year.
The school was closed in May of 2015 and the building’s deed was transferred to the city of Enterprise. However, with the rapid growth Enterprise City schools have been experiencing over the past three years, it has become necessary for both the school board and city council to consider reopening the institution as a new educational setting.
According to Turner Townsend of the Enterprise City Council, the council and board of education have been working on a proposal for the project for some time.
“There’s been a lot of back and forth for about three or four months now, and it’s taken a lot of different turns, but this is what we’ve arrived at, and I think it’s something that we can at least get close to building consensus on, and hopefully we can move forward with some final decisions,” Townsend said.
Superintendent Greg Faught added that the possibility of once again opening College Street to students does not indicate a past mistake in closing the school.
“It’s not an issue of making a bad choice in the past in regard to turning that school over—I think that was done for the right reasons then,” Faught said. “However, our programs are growing so rapidly, we’re going to need more space if we’re going to continue offering those opportunities for our students.”
As per the proposal presented for discussion in the work session, should the council and the school board decide to transfer College Street Elementary back to the Enterprise Board of Education, the property would be conveyed as is with no warranties expressed or implied; additionally, the city would provide $540,000 in cash for needed repairs to College Street, including window replacement, front drive repaving, replacement of wood in interior walls, floor repair, AC unit updates, and exterior painting. The school board would be responsible for taking possession of the College Street building immediately and putting it back into service as soon as possible—preferably in time for the 2018-2019 school year—by performing the necessary repairs.
According to Faught, if transferred, the property will be used to alleviate some of the crowding at Enterprise High School.
“We’ve had a rapid expansion of our career tech program at the high school; we’re constantly looking at and evaluating that program and we’re adding programs and opportunities for kids to it,” Faught explained. “As that program rapidly expands, we need more space, and as of right now, I think we’ve got 10 teachers at the high school who don’t have a classroom, and they’re floating from one classroom to another. If we got another space, another school, I think we’ve got the potential to move 17 of those classrooms over to another school. We’ve got a good number of students who don’t necessarily want to go to college; they want to enter a trade, and as you know, here in Alabama there’s a need for that. We feel that if we can offer them more opportunities they’ll feel like they’ve got more choices, and choices are a good thing for kids. That’s what we were looking at in terms of College Street, if that works out.”
Enterprise High School Principal Brent Harrison elaborated on Faught’s statements, giving the council and the school board an idea of what classes would be transferred to the new space.
“We’ll have all of our health sciences over there,” Harrison said. “We’ll also have teaching education; as far as the vocational or more technical side, we’ll have plumbing and electric, masonry, avionics dual enrollment with the junior college—those will be the main hands-on, getting dirty kinds of programs. But besides that, we’ll have STEM, pre-engineering, and information and technology will be there as well.”
Though no final decisions regarding the College Street educational setting were reached, both the council and the school board felt they had conducted a thorough discussion of the possibilities. The City Council is expected to further discuss the College Street Elementary School transfer at its next regularly scheduled meeting.