Auburn Villager

The new elementary school in the works for north Auburn got one step closer to becoming a reality as the Auburn City Schools Board of Education approved a bid for the project at its regular meeting on Tuesday night.

The $17 million project was awarded to Decatur-based Baggette Construction Inc. 

According to Daniel Chesser, public relations specialist for ACS, the group was able to meet the school system's budget standards for the task. 

“We go with the lowest bidder,” Chesser said. “During our process, we set an anticipated budget and whoever can take on the project within our budget is the one we ultimately select.” 

Tuesday night’s approval will serve as the official beginning for the project while stages of clearing land, architectural designs and employee inputs on the overall look for the school will soon follow. 

Chesser said that, as of now, the city is expecting the project to reach completion by May 2022 and welcome its first class of students in August of the 2022-2023 school year. 

“We’ve kind of got our model for what our elementary schools look like,” Chesser said. “If you visit any of the ones that have been built in the last 20 to 25 years, they all have a very similar layout so that determines what it’s going to look like.

“With tonight’s approval, we will get straight to work on it with the land parts taking place over the summer, but a school of that size can be built within a year so we are looking at a finish date of May 1, 2022.” 

Population density in north Auburn’s neighborhoods played a key part in determining the city’s need for a new school. 

“If you look at the population of Auburn, where all the houses are being built and things are being developed, it's all on the northwest side of town,” Chesser said. “That’s the side of town that is growing at a rapid rate so the school will accommodate that growth.”

Chesser added that the addition of a new school will help alleviate the growing classroom size at the nine other elementary schools across the district. 

“When you are looking at our student population, you ideally want to have an elementary school at or below 500 students,” Chesser said. “As we look at those grades coming up, we were at that tipping point.

“If you look at our past few graduating classes, we graduated 600 last year and 625 the year before that. We’re looking at Drake and East Samford, which has over 600, if not, over 700 students, so it’s just the natural progression of things as we grow as a community.”

Upon completion, the new school will serve as Auburn City Schools’ 10th elementary school.

Also during the meeting, BOE approved the bids for the East Samford and Auburn Junior High Re-roofing projects, the East Samford Gym Project and an easement for Tallapoosa River Electric Cooperative Inc. in regard to the new elementary school. 

The Board declined to approve the bid for the Professional Development Classroom at Auburn High School.

The next meeting is set for April 13 at 6 p.m. 

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