Morgan County Schools
Priceville High School is under construction Priceville, Ala.

Dismissal of architect means Alabama high school may not be ready to open

Nov. 16, 2015
The Morgan County district had planned to open Priceville High School in December

Construction is continuing on a new high school in Priceville, Ala., but after a dispute resulted in the dismissal of the project's architectural firm, the campus may not open in December as planned.

The Decatur Daily reports that the Morgan County school board fired GBW Architects last week amid project delays stemming from disagreements between the firm and the builder, Baggette Construction, over how some parts of Priceville High School were being built. The architect has raised concerns that the school is not being built as designed and that it is structurally unsafe. In October, a third-party engineer that examined the project concluded that even though parts of the school were not constructed as designed, he found no evidence the building is unsafe.

Superintendent Bill Hopkins Jr. says he believes construction of the $23.8 million, 119,000-square-foot school will be completed by the end of the year, but he is not optimistic that students will be able to move into the facility before the end of the year.

“I’m very optimistic about the building being done before the year is over,” he said, “but having it done and having things ready for classes are two different things.”

The school board authorized the superintendent to hire another architect, but it is not clear how long that will take and how it will affect construction.

Priceville High had been scheduled to open in August, but was delayed until December.

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