The school board recently unveiled plans for a new school, and Superintendent Robert Sparkman has requested the city raise its sales tax by one cent to pay for the cost of the school, which is estimated to cost around $61 million.
Jasper Mayor Sonny Posey and members of the Jasper City Council have remained relatively quiet on the subject of a tax, but Posey has said the city will be heavily involved in the construction of a new school.
While the $61 million price tag may be a little high, the project would include a 285,000-square foot, multi-story building to house academic classrooms, state-of-the-art science labs, a competition gym, a practice gym and a 1,500-seat performing arts center. That funding would also include the construction of an athletic complex, featuring practice fields (one for football and one for band), tennis courts, two baseball fields, two soccer fields and a new football stadium.
The need for a new high school is definitely great. The are portions of the old school that were built when FDR was in office and there may even be some areas that date back to the Herbert Hoover administration.
Even the newer areas of the school are 30 or 40 years old. Education has changed by leaps and bounds since that time, and we can’t expect Jasper students to be able to compete with other students across the nation if their school facilities limit available programs.
A public forum is being held Monday from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. to allow area residents to ask questions about the possible project and share their views on the new school. Whether you support building a new school or not, the Jasper BOE and officials with the city hope to gain feedback on the issue through this meeting. Let your voice be heard.
The Daily Mountain Eagle is in full support of the construction of a new high school. While we are hesitant to support earmarking a sales tax for a new Walker High, the Eagle does support a possible sales tax hike that could be used for the school project as well as other initiatives needed in the city.
- The Daily Mountain Eagle