By Donna Thornton/News Editor
If weather cooperates, sixth, seventh and eighth graders in the Sardis school district could find themselves in a new school by Christmas – a long-needed middle school currently under construction just past the Sardis City Fire Station on Sardis Road.
Groundbreaking for the construction project was on April 13, although work has already begun on the structure.
Currently, the area is served by Carlisle and Whitesboro Elementary schools and Sardis High School. When the middle school is completed, sixth graders from the two elementary schools and seventh and eighth graders from the high school will move to the facility.
Etowah County Schools Superintendent Dr. Alan Cosby said the board of education hopes the new construction will accommodate the growth experienced in the Sardis area in recent years and give the school system room for more growth.
Cosby said the seed of the need for a middle school at Sardis was planted in his mind around 2004, when he was principal at Rainbow Middle School and Dr. Tommy Mosley was superintendent.
Etowah Board of Education member Danny Golden agreed talk of a middle school in Sardis began around 1994. “Then we didn’t have the land and we didn’t have the money.”
“This wouldn’t happen without the 1 percent sales tax in Etowah County,” Cosby said. The tax gives the school system about $2.2 million each year, he said, and has allowed the system to construct new high schools, gyms and other capital projects. Currently the system is constructing the Sardis school, elementary schools at Duck Springs and Glencoe and a new gym at Hokes Bluff.
“Everytime you go to the store,” Cosby said, “you’re helping us pay for the building over there.”
“We’re one of the only counties in the state to have new school buildings going up,” said Rep. Craig Ford, Alabama House Minority Leader. He said that is a definite benefit to the community.
“The first thing companies want to know,” he said, when they consider locating in a community, “is where their kids are going to go to school. I look forward to cutting a ribbon and walking the halls of this school.”
All members of the local legislative delegation attended the groundbreaking, and praised the board for its work.
“This is one of the most functional, well-led boards in the state,” Sen. Phil Williams said.