New Athens Elementary School
The Athens City Schools Board of Education is moving forward with a proposed plan for a new school for Athens Elementary.
Site work began on the old AES site during the summer of 2019 in preparation for the new facility. Demolition of the old AES is well underway at the intersection of Houston and Madison streets, and school officials hope construction of a bigger and better Athens Elementary will begin in 2020 on the same site.The AES faculty and students have relocated to the Clinton Street Campus for the 2019-2020 school year.
Aside from being new, the proposed two-story Athens Elementary would house about 600 students, nearly double the capacity of 365 at the old school. The project proposal calls for 28 classrooms and five specialty rooms. The street that separates the current building from its playground would be removed so the new building can be built on the middle of the property. This will move the building away from a natural spring that runs under one side of the campus and frequently causes flooding.
The playground would be moved to the Houston Street side of the campus, between First and Second avenues. Parking would increase by about 20 spaces. Lanes for bus and carpool drop-offs would be built on the campus, meaning drivers would no longer have to block the surrounding streets to pick up or drop off a student.
Athens City Schools tentatively plans to borrow about $15 million to build the new elementary. In December 2019, the city created a three-man board to look at the building project and determine how it should be funded. Known as the Public Educational Building Authority, the board includes retired Circuit Judge Jimmy Woodroof Jr., former Limestone County Economic Development Association President Tom Hill and former Athens City Schools Chief Financial Officer Barry Hamilton.
Lathan Associates Architects of Hoover, Alabama presented a proposal for a new Athens Elementary School at the April 2019 board meeting. Click here to see the early proposed plans now.