As I opined last week, there is no doubt that both city and school officials are doing their best to move forward with this project and to put to rest any doubt in the community that a good portion of the recent 1 percent hike in city sales tax will be earmarked for the school.
Now it is up to school officials to finalize the plans within a reasonable budget, even if that means that Jasper City Schools finances the balance of the project if it exceeds the city’s $52 million budget.
I have viewed the ever-evolving plans and while I am neither a school architect nor a brick-and-mortar contractor, common sense tells me that a very nice campus complete with the necessary athletic complex should not exceed $60 million.
You do not need to look any further than similar school projects in nearby Hartselle and Hueytown to justify the assumption that our new school can be just as nice at a similar cost.
I understand that if given a blank check, one’s wish list may balloon into something both unrealistic and unnecessary. We are not building the Taj Mahal of schools here in Jasper.
But when it is finished, I believe that all of us who have helped fund it via the tax increase will be extremely proud of the much-needed education centerpiece. Now let’s start moving some dirt!
Tomorrow is Veterans Day. According to Mike Beard, district manager of the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs, as of Sept. 30, 2011, there were 6,613 veterans in Walker County. That represents more than 10 percent of our population.
I obtained my veteran’s status after serving nearly 10 months of continuous active duty service as a peacekeeper in war-torn Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1998. I am proud of my 14 years of service in the West Virginia Army National Guard and brief active duty service when called upon.
And I am happy to stand up with other veterans when asked to do so.
But I do not compare my service to those who fought for this great country during wartime.
I speak for the entire Daily Mountain Eagle family when I say, THANK YOU!
Jack McNeely is the publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle and can be contacted by phone at 205-221-2840 or via email at email@example.com.