Mobile County Public Schools officials will break ground on the new $14 million Fournier-Chastang K-8 School in Mobile’s Trinity Gardens community at 10 a.m. Tuesday.
The state-of-the-art, two-story red-brick school will be a beautiful addition to the city as it will front Interstate 65 and its service road. The address is: 2800 Berkley Avenue, Mobile, Alabama. (Weather permitting, the ceremony will be held outside. In case of rain, it will be held in the gymnasium.)
“We are looking at Fournier-Chastang as being a flagship school on the interstate that everyone traveling north or south is going to see. It’s going to show our progress,” said Tommy Sheffield, Executive Manager of Facilities for Mobile County Public Schools. “We are building a premier school for the children filled with 21st-century technology and science labs, and we have designed it to look like a premier school.”
Members of the Mobile County Board of School Commissioners, Superintendent Martha Peek, school leaders and community members will be on hand for the groundbreaking. Brazier Elementary and Chastang Middle are combining to establish the new school. School board member Dr. Reginald Crenshaw made a motion last year to name the school for longtime school system employee, administrator and school board member Hazel Fournier.
Construction should begin within the next two weeks. The school will open in either the fall of 2016 or January 2017.
The 94,000-square-foot school will feature 27 classrooms for grades pre-K through eight. It will have a large media center with an adjacent reading room, an art classroom, a class for music/vocal/dance, an elementary science demonstration classroom and an elementary computer laboratory, as well as middle school laboratories for biology, chemistry and computer. There will be a gymnasium with seating for 400, a large cafeteria and state-of-the-art kitchen, a vocational laboratory, exploratory laboratory, and small group rooms.
Fournier-Chastang is being built as part of a $100 million construction bond that is continuing a $800 million construction campaign that has spanned longer than the last decade. It will be the fifth school constructed recently to have a built-in tornado shelter. (The other schools that have opened over the last year and a half with that feature, now required by the state, are: Taylor-White Elementary, Whitley Elementary, Augusta Evans Special School, and Calcedeaver Elementary).
The $100 million construction campaign also includes a new $25 million Citronelle High and major renovations to Lott Middle, Murphy High, Phillips Preparatory, Tanner Williams Elementary, Mae Eanes Middle, Dauphin Island Elementary and Barton Academy. Seven elementary schools are getting multi-purpose buildings, LeFlore High is getting a new auditorium and Burns Middle is getting a new science wing.