TRM to get facelift

Published 2:00 am Wednesday, August 22, 2012

T.R. Miller High School will have a whole new look in about two years.
The Brewton City Schools Board agreed Monday to undertake major renovations at the school, which Superintendent Lynn Smith said would result in entirely new classrooms and office space.
The project would cost about $8 million, Smith said, and work to tear down the old classrooms would begin at the end of the current school year.
School officials are hopeful the project will have minimal disruptions and will not force any classes to use portable classrooms.
Smith said discussion about the renovations came after the board passed the five-year capital plan, which originally called for more minor renovations, including replacing the heating and air conditioning and re-roofing the high school.
“The high school is 50 years old right now,” Smith said. “A new high school would be maybe a dozen or so years down the road. So we thought, what about replacing the classrooms now?”
The new capital plan calls for the major renovations to take place in fiscal years 2013 and 2014, with the hope that today’s sophomores will be in new classrooms by the time they are seniors.
Financing for the project could either come through a bond issue or through cash on hand in the school board’s own oil and gas trust fund, which it would pay back in time. The board already has about $4 million left over from the bond issue that built the new middle school, which cost less than originally expected.
The school board on Monday contracted with McKee and Associates — architects of the new middle school — to design the new classrooms and oversee the renovation project.
“We think we can do it without portables,” Smith said of the high school changes. “The more we’ve talked about it, the more excited I get about it.”
The science classrooms, gymnasium and band room facilities — all of which were built in the past 15 years or so — will remain on the campus.
The capital plan for the coming fiscal year also includes $500,000 in improvements to the T.R. Miller baseball field; those funds have been donated, Smith said.
Renovating the existing school speeds up the timetable for a new high school — and makes use of the existing location, which Smith said could not get any better.
“People are talking about what to do about bringing new jobs to town,” he said. “We’re right on (U.S.) 31. If we make the front entrance attractive, the school system is doing what it can to improve Brewton, too.”

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