GULF SHORES — A new eight-room addition to Gulf Shores Elementary School should be open for students by the beginning of the 2023-24 academic year following action by the city council.The …
GULF SHORES — A new eight-room addition to Gulf Shores Elementary School should be open for students by the beginning of the 2023-24 academic year following action by the city council.
The council voted Monday, Oct. 10 to approve the bid of Ben Radcliff Contractors to build the addition at a cost of almost $4.15 million.
Radcliff was the lowest of three bidders on the project with submissions ranging up to $4.27 million, Noel Hand, public works director, said. He said that when previous costs, such as design and planning, are added in, the project is still expected to be completed under budget.
"This project was budgeted for $5.9 million," Hand said. "We roughly have about $5.4 million total in with soft costs and the contract with the additional work and it was budgeted at $5.9 million. We're right at $5.4, so we are under budget, and this is all coming out of the $150 million school budget."
Hand said the new addition should be completed by August 2023 in time for the start of the new school year.
City Administrator Steve Griffin said the project is part of a series of improvements Gulf Shores has made since the city took over the school system in 2019. He said the new classrooms will help the school accommodate the growing number of students in the system.
"Just the elementary school itself has grown 200 students," Griffin said. "So, we're having to do this addition to accommodate new growth that's occurred since we started our school system in '19."
Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft said city and school officials have done a good job of preparing for the future.
"This is just an amazing success story, and you don't always get those, not to this level," Craft said. "This was just a pretty fascinating makeover and you've seen those before. This one was just unbelievable."
School Superintendent Matt Akin said the addition is part of efforts to improve education in the system.
"Everything that we're doing is improving instruction along the way," Akin said. "It's not just giving us more capacity, but it's given us the ability to teach our kids like we want them to be taught."
The new construction will add 12,300 square feet of classroom space to the school, Hand said. He said work has already started to prepare the site.
As part of the project, crews removed the canopy for the bus approach and did other work at a cost of $480,000. Hand said that work has been completed.
The system also completed the addition of a STEAM facility at the school, he said.
"We completed it Aug. 8, but during this process, we had over 90 inches of rain during this project," Hand said. "So, it ran over, but we still delivered it on time for school opening in fall of 2022."