OB study details potential site plan for new high school

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WALA) – If you’re looking to launch a new school system in a city with only an elementary school, you’re going to have to build a new school.

One of the potential sites for a new Orange Beach High School would be at the tennis center across the street from Orange Beach Elementary. If that happens, Mayor Tony Kennon said the courts would be relocated to the sports complex just off of Canal Road.

According to the feasibility study released at Tuesday night’s town hall meeting, the cost of building a new high school would be about $12 million.

The study also recommends expanding Orange Beach Elementary School to include seventh and eighth graders. That could cost somewhere between nearly $3 million to $5 million, depending on if a gymnasium is needed.

But it’s all just an idea until the public approves it.

“If at that point the folks in the town of Orange Beach approve that, then we will start moving right away and forming a school board. Then the school board essentially will take over all the functions and development from that point on. The mayor and council get out of it,” Kennon said.

As for who will be on the school board, Kennon said those positions will be appointed by the city council.

“Appointed is the way to go because a lot of the really good, qualified candidates for the school board won’t even consider it if they have to run for the office because, let’s just face it, a campaign is pain, you know? It’s really hard and it’s not what necessarily gets you the best candidate,” Kennon said.

Angie Swiger, who sits on the Baldwin County School Board, said she’s worried about the potential ripple effect of losing students from Gulf Shores High School.

“I do have concerns that that will create a problem for us to be able to offer academies at the high school and will definitely break down what we’ve already built,” Swiger said.

But it will be up to the people to decide if that will be an issue at all. Kennon expects a vote on the issue to come up some time in September.

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