Members: There are several rumors afloat in south Huntsville regarding the rebuilding of Grissom High School.
HUNTSVILLE SOUTH is working to keep informed on this issue, and we will report the facts as we understand them.
Three members of the HUNTSVILLE SOUTH board of directors met with Dr. Wardynski two weeks ago and discussed the
Grissom rebuild. The initial plan is to rebuild Grissom at its current site while school operations continue. That plan may require some relocation of some students during the construction phase, such as 9th graders remaining at middle schools.
The final completion is estimated to be 2016. The cost is approximately $67 million. The school board asked their consultants to do a search for land in south Huntsville to determine if an appropriate alternate site could be found. Grissom currently sits on approximately thirty acres. To support a new school with appropriate parking and athletic facilities requires approximately
sixty acres. Sixty acre tracts in south Huntsville are few but a site was located on land owned by the Hays family
behind Home Depot/Sam’s on the west side of the Parkway. This site is now under consideration for construction of a new Grissom High School.
There are many positives about rebuilding Grissom at a new location and there are also many concerns that must be answered. Based on our meeting with Dr. Wardynski, we understand that the cost to rebuild on a new location will be approximately the same as rebuilding Grissom at its current site. A new location will require expense for land. The rebuild at
the current site will require additional expense due to the logistics and difficulty of rebuilding the school while the school remains active. A new school will provide high school students of south Huntsville with a state of the art facility including labs, theater, athletic facilities, and sufficient student parking. The completion time to build at the new location will be 2 years
sooner than the plan to build at the existing location. The new school to be built will not be larger than the current Grissom, but will be built to handle the number of students Grissom has enrolled based on the last several years of enrollment. There are also some discussions concerning the possibility of building new residential housing on additional land in the same area to encourage movement of new families into south Huntsville and discussion concerning improvements to the Haysland Square
There are also concerns and unanswered questions concerning rebuilding Grissom at this location, such as traffic flow and traffic patterns to the new school. Morning traffic northbound on the Parkway is very heavy and this site will surely increase the morning traffic on Weatherly. Will movement of Grissom to this location result in any rezoning of other middle schools into feeder schools for Grissom. What will be the future use of the current Grissom site if the school is rebuilt on the new site?
This is a very important issue to south Huntsville and especially those homeowners near the current Grissom. Additionally, some homeowners near the proposed site will not want a school built in their neighborhood.
In closing, HUNTSVILLE SOUTH is hosting a meeting on November 19th with Dr. Wardynski and leadership from each of the south Huntsville neighborhood associations to discuss the rebuilding of Grissom. This meeting will allow information to flow back to the neighborhoods and possibly answer some concerns and give rise to others. HUNTSVILLE SOUTH is also working with Dr. Wardynski to host open town hall meeting to discuss the Grissom rebuild. The concerns regarding the rebuilding of Grissom, at a new site or at its current site, need to be addressed.
There was recently an email and
Facebook posting that included a letter from State Senator Paul Sanford in which
Sen. Sanford said moving Grissom would not be the right thing to do and that he
had concerns about the rebuild and he encouraged calls into Dr. Wardynski. Sen. Sanford gave no reasons for
his thoughts and the email and Facebook came across as alarmist.
HUNTSVILLE SOUTH is working to gather factual information regarding the
rebuilding Grissom. We will
continue to provide this information so that citizens of south Huntsville can
make informed decisions.