The price of a new high school in Guntersville may be higher than school leaders were hoping. They thought the school would cost around $25 million, but a contractor says that price could double.
In a recent work session with the school board and city council, a contractor said building a new high school could cost $50 million.
Superintendent Brett Stanton said in a statement to WZDX, “There has been much talk about a new high school for Guntersville. The reason being our current high school was built in 1971. So, this facility is quickly approaching 50 years of service to faculty, staff, and students. As a result, the structure of our current high school is lacking in terms of meeting the needs that are required and so important in today’s society relative to teaching and learning. However, our architects have estimated the cost to build a new Guntersville High School at $50M. With this amount far exceeding our budget, additional taxes would have to factor into the equation if a new high school is to be built.”
Even with benefits from a possible 1% sales tax increase in Guntersville, many are worried about when they could break ground on the new school. If passed, the sales tax increase would giving half a cent of every dollar to the school system, but several parents in Guntersville are hoping for more.
Leamon Yarbrough is advocating for a 1.5% sales tax increase to further benefit the school system.
“The group of parents that has been advocating for the 9.5% increase is disappointed certainly with what we think will be voted on,” said Yarbrough.
City Council members brought up the idea of an ad valorem tax increase to use for a new high school, which could take a year after being passed before the school system sees any money. Many who want a new school say they need it now.
“It has gotten to a point where it doesn’t suit the needs, you know, for today’s students,” said Yarbrough.
Parents advocating for a higher sales tax say getting funds sooner is a small victory, but they still think there is a long way to go.
The sales tax increase in Guntersville is expected to be voted on Monday, April 15.