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FRIDAY, APRIL 13, 2007
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Falkville science lab may be nicer than planned

By Bayne Hughes
hughes@decaturdaily.com 340-2432

Falkville Elementary raised more than $27,000 to build a science lab, but the school is getting much more than the principal and a teacher expected.

The original plan was to build a metal building for the lab. School officials didn't consider, however, that state law requires them to go through an approval process that includes architectural drawings and state Building Commission approval.

Now, if the school board can get the funding, Falkville is probably getting a $150,000, 1,620-square-foot science lab that could be converted into two classrooms if needed.

Architect Mack Freeman of McCauley and Associates presented two proposals, the second of which was an addition built as only a science lab. But school board members preferred the flexibility of a lab that could become classrooms.

The school had already bought the materials for the metal building, which Principal Hank Summerford said would become a much-needed storage building.

Summerford credited teacher Anna Henderson with raising the money. He said the school could possibly get a matching grant from NASA to help pay for the lab.

"It's a been a wonderful project for the school," Henderson said. "About 80 parents volunteered in the last two months at the science lab."

Finance Director Rodger Spillers said the school system does not have the money in the general fund for the project and may not have it in the capital project money it gets from the state. A possible bond issue that state Legislature is considering could be the answer.

"It's a good idea, but funding is our only concern," Spillers said.

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