School construction still on target

Published 10:20 pm Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Workers continued to make progress Tuesday on the new Selma High School building. The project, Selma City Schools director of operations Ray Mathiews said, is on schedule. -- Rick Couch

It’s been six months since Selma city officials and dignitaries first broke ground with plans to rebuild a new Selma High School, and as school officials hammer down a few more bolts and screws, completion is drawing near.

“We’re almost a third of the way through,” said director of operations for Selma City Schools Ray Mathiews. “We’re on budget and on time.”

With heat, ventilation and air conditioning, or HVAC, duct work being installed and with construction workers laying bricks and concrete blocks, hanging steel, pouring concrete foundations, running electrical conduit and installing storm drains in the school, Mathiews said the project is going well.

Email newsletter signup

“The whole Selma High team — all parties, are working together,” Mathiews said. “There’s a full array of work going on at this time. We’ve finished half of the safe zone, or storm shelter, on the first floor and we’re framing and forming the second half of it.”

In a previous interview with the Times-Journal, Mathiews said Alabama law requires storm shelters and safe zones to be capable of withstanding winds of 250 miles per hour or more, and the advanced design in the new school’s construction, Mathiews said, adheres to those state guidelines. The construction team started with the existing gym and worked its way around to the front of the school, adding more classrooms and a competition gym. And with so many weather unknowns, an exact completion date for the school, Mathiews said, cannot yet be determined.

“We think the school will be completed in the spring time — we don’t know whether it will be March or May,” Mathiews said.

“It all depends on the weather, which is the biggest factor. My whole focus is to work with the construction manager and architect to make sure we have a quality school and that we’re on budget and on time.”

Selma City Board of Education Superintendent Don Jefferson was unavailable for comment.