Middle school opening estimated in three years

Published 6:14 am Wednesday, September 3, 2008

By By Kerry Whipple Bean – publisher
A new Brewton Middle School could open by fall 2011, if all goes according to a timeline Superintendent Lynn Smith is hoping for.
Last week, the school board and city agreed on a price for more than 100 acres on U.S. 31 North, near a city water tower, on which to build a new middle school.
Smith said the next step for the property is to clear some of the trees and brush so that a survey can be done in the next month.
An architect has already been working on plans for the new school, but determining the best place to locate it on the property depends on the survey of the land.
Smith estimates construction could take about 20 months, so he has a fall 2011 opening date in mind, although no firm timeline has been set.
Among the most important changes in the new school will be larger classrooms, Smith said, with plans for 30 foot by 30 foot classrooms. The current school has 700 square foot classrooms. The gymnasium, band room and other facilities will also likely be larger, he said.
The school board will buy the more than 100-acre property for $550,000 from the City of Brewton. The decision on the land came after months of discussion and some controversy when the school board considered a proposal to buy the city-owned Dogwood Hills and use part of the golf course for the school.
The U.S. 31 land is near the edge of the city limits, north of the Walmart Supercenter now under construction. Some roadwork and a new traffic light at the U.S. 31 and Old Castleberry Road will likely be necessary.
The new school will also be across the street from Bee Sweet Bakery, which opened in the past year and has expanded its hours recently.
Owner William Lyons said he is excited about the prospect of being so close to the new middle school.
Lyons noted that the location of the bakery and school make sense because Brewton is growing in that direction.