Superintendent Eddie Tyler said he and the Baldwin County Board of Education are making plans to open the new Orange Beach High School/Middle School in portables in August 2019.
Tyler said it’s unlikely the new facility on Canal Road will be finished for the start of the 2019-20 year and the state requires a backup plan for opening the school.
“There’s going to be a portable village,” Tyler said in a report released by the city of Orange Beach. “It will have to be architected and engineered and the state building commission has to bless it. It will be on the site of Orange Beach Elementary.”
The deadline for submitting bids for construction of the new school was Oct. 2; Tyler told the city he hopes to announce the winning bid at the Oct. 18 school board meeting.
“For the school to actually open Aug. 1, it’s probably not going to happen because of just where we live,” he explained. “But we feel like it’s going to happen early fall. If the weather was great, we could open Aug. 1 and that’d be fantastic but more realistically we’re looking at probably some time, maybe October, hopefully before Thanksgiving.”
Tyler said the plan is to have about 15 portables on the site and the two student populations would not intermingle.
“It’s going to be worked where there’s not going to be any interaction with the elementary school,” he said. “And I know ‘portables’ is a bad word sometimes, especially depends on what part of the county you live in, but we’re doing this for a purpose. We could delay it but we feel like the excitement here is we want it sooner than later so let’s move. So, we’re going to provide a safe environment, from the weather and everything, for learning to continue.”
According to the report by the city, Tyler said the middle school students will take over the second floor of the 139,000-square-foot school and high school classes will be on the first floor. A total of 28 classrooms are planned including two special-needs rooms, six science labs, a driver’s education lab, a choral room, a gymnasium with seating for 736, a band room for 100 students and cafeteria seating inside for 300 students with an additional outdoor area for another 300.
School board member Norma Lynch of Orange Beach said initial plans are to have two principals in the new school.
“For me and Mr. Tyler — and I have had this discussion since before I went on the board — the administrator, that instructional leader, is key,” Lynch said.