Rendering of plans for a new high school in Athens Ala Athens City Schools

Rendering of plans for a new high school in Athens, Ala.

New high school to be built in Athens, Ala.

New building will provide additional space to accommodate increasing enrollment.

The Athens (Ala.) City School District plans to break ground next month on a new high school.

The Decatur Daily reports that the school is scheduled to be ready for the 2017-18 school year. When the new building is complete, the district will convert the existing high school to a middle school.

The construction is an outgrowth of the district's capital plan to modernize schools and address an increase in student population. Since 2005, the district's enrollment has grown from 2,800 students to 3,300.

The school board approved plans earlier this year for a $55 million, 265,000-square-foot, two-story school building with capacity for up to 1,250 students. It will have a two-story grand lobby with windows that overlook a courtyard with shade structures for outdoor classes.

Other spaces in the new building include an engineering academy, a chorale area, a drama room, an art gallery, an ROTC armory, a firing range, collaboration spaces, a media center, and a home economics space.

The facility also will have a storm shelter large enough to accommodate the entire student body. It will be able to withstand winds of 250 miles an hour.

The architect is Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood. The builder is Martin & Colby Construction. Notably,

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