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City considering adding Smith's Station schools

All of the schools in Smiths Station could soon become part of the city.

The Lee County Board of Education approved a petition to the city of Smiths Station Tuesday night to annex the property around Smiths Station High School, Smiths Station Intermediate School, Smiths Station Elementary School and a small portion of the Smiths Station Primary School property into the city limits.

"It's more or less being a good neighbor," interim superintendent Steve Nowlin said.

When the city was incorporated in 2001, state law required that the incorporated area be divided into 40-acre quadrants, with at least 60 percent of the residents and four registered votes in each quadrant requesting incorporation before the election.

There were no residents or voters in the quadrants containing the high, intermediate and elementary schools, so those quadrants were left out of the city map.

Nowlin said once a city has 5,000 students enrolled in schools within city limits, it has the option of creating its own city school district. Smiths Station schools have close to 6,000 students enrolled.

However, Nowlin said the city does not have the funding to purchase the school buildings and create their own district.

There are five schools in the Smiths Station attendance area: Smiths Station Primary, Smiths Station Elementary, Smiths Station Intermediate, Wacoochee Jr. High and Smiths Station High School.

Most of the primary school's property is already in the city limits. Wacoochee Jr. High is in Salem, Ala.

In other action items, the board also approved a five-year capital outlay plan outlining building projects for the system. The plan can be amended throughout the school year. Projects currently on the list include:--Building baseball and softball fields at Loachapoka High School to replace facilities lost due to new construction. The expected cost is $250,000, funded during the 2007 fiscal year. The fields are expected to be completed in 2008.--A new roof at Beauregard High School, expected to cost $196,917, to be funded and completed in the 2008 fiscal year.--A new roof at Beulah High School, expected to cost $132,750, to be funded and completed in the 2008 fiscal year.--A new roof at Loachapoka Elementary School, expected to cost $55,890, to be funded and completed in the 2008 fiscal year.--A new roof at Loachapoka High School, expected to cost $14,000, to be funded and completed in the 2008 fiscal year. --A new roof at Smiths Station High School, expected to cost $229,905, to be funded and completed in the 2008 fiscal year.--A new roof at Smiths Station Intermediate School, expected to cost $247,923, to be funded and completed in the 2008 fiscal year.--A ten classroom addition, band room addition and dressing room renovation at Wacoochee Jr. High School, expected to cost $2.87 million. The project will be be funded during the 2008 fiscal year and completed in 2009.--A new elementary school in the Smiths Station attendance area. The projected cost is $15-20 million, Nowlin said, to be funded in the 2008 fiscal year. The completion date is unknown.--A new high school in the Smiths Station attendance area. The projected cost is $25 million, Nowlin said, to be funded in the 2008 fiscal year. The completion date is unknown.

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