MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – Special needs students in Mobile County will soon have a new school to call their own.
The former Augusta Evans School on Florida Street is moving to West Mobile off Cody Road. Everywhere you look, construction and preparations are still being made to the new school, which will open at the beginning of summer.
The special needs school is the only one of its kind in Mobile County, according to school officials.
“We’re actually giving them a new campus because of the existing campus has so many site restrictions,” said MCPSS Building Operations Manager Tommy Sheffield.
Sheffield said the school is equipped with the latest and greatest features to comply with ADA standards including automatic sliding glass doors and lighting that turns on as you move near a sensor. Sheffield said building an entirely new school at a brand new location is more cost-effective and will last longer.
“I can come out here and build them a brand new school for the same value and not have an old facility with upgrades at the end of the day. Give them a brand new building that will carry them another 50 years,” he said.
The special needs school, built by design, cost roughly $12.5 million to build and is over 80,000 square feet. It has a state-of-the-art playground, donated by Mobile Rotary, worth $250,000 along with greenhouses at $50,000 each.
“The doors, the handicap, the classrooms are very user-friendly. The restrooms have to be specially built and designed to fit those needs. There’s a huge need for schools like we have here today. Bringing it out here, we have the growth, expand, and give them anything you can imagine to do that will help them have a better transition with their disabilities,” said Sheffield.
Currently, about 300 students are enrolled at Augusta Evans. Sheffield said the new school is built for up to 500.
Students will remain at the current location until the end of the school year.