The City of Gulf Shores held an unveiling on Sept. 11 of its master plan for the future Coastal Gateway Community Park, and among the projects listed is a plan to build a second elementary school in …
The City of Gulf Shores held an unveiling on Sept. 11 of its master plan for the future Coastal Gateway Community Park, and among the projects listed is a plan to build a second elementary school in Gulf Shores.
According to Grant Brown, direction of recreation and cultural affairs for the city, the second elementary is currently a 15-acre placeholder with no timeline yet.
"We anticipate it being several years before the design and construction of that school," Superintendent Matt Akin said. "After the new high school is completed on Coastal Gateway Boulevard, the current middle school will occupy the existing high school campus, and the elementary school will utilize the existing elementary and middle school campuses."
According to Akin, the current enrollment for the city's only elementary school is 1,152 students, and the capacity for the elementary and middle school combined is approximately 1,700 students. Akin said the school system has not made a decision yet on what the enrollment number would need to be to begin construction on the new elementary school.
Per a September 2023 Gulf Coast Media article, the city began working with Dix. Hite + Partners last year to develop a master plan for the 127 acres of city-owned property on Coastal Gateway Boulevard (County Road 8) with the intent to expand accessibility to city-provided services and amenities in north Gulf Shores.
According to the documents in the master plan, it became evident to city leaders there is an increased need for recreation amenities in north Gulf Shores as more homes are built.
Some of the highlights from the plan include 46 acres on the newly improved Coastal Gateway Boulevard, plans for a second elementary school, a future fire station and a connector road between Coastal Gateway Boulevard and County Road 6. According to the master plan, the city began holding public involvement meetings in 2021, gathering input from residents on the amenities they would like to see included at the park.
"The fire station is being designed now and is being budgeted separately from the park but will be constructed in conjunction with phase one of the park," Brown said.
The amenities cited in the plan also include a recreation center, outdoor aquatics, usable lake(s), trails, amphitheater, signature playground, dog park, multi-use field, large pavilion, basketball courts, volleyball courts, social gaming, skateboarding and elevation changes.
Construction is expected to begin in fall 2024, with the first phase of the park open by spring 2026.