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WEDNESDAY, MAY 30, 2007
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Decatur Heritage to build facility
Academy makes plans for
new school on Spring Avenue

By Bayne Hughes
hughes@decaturdaily.com 340-2432

Decatur Heritage Christian Academy is working on plans to build a school on Spring Avenue Southwest within the next year.

Decatur's Zoning Board of Adjustments tabled consideration of a variance that would allow construction of a school on 36 acres near Bud's convenience store and the Vestavia Road extension. Headmaster Scott Mayo said he hopes the board will reconsider the variance at its June meeting.

Mayo said the private school's plan is to start a capital campaign with a goal of between $4 million and $10 million, and then build the school in phases, depending on how much the campaign generates.

The school would be from 30,000 to 50,000 square feet.

The more money raised, the more grades, and possibly athletic facilities, would be included. The Phase 1 priority would be the kindergarten through sixth grades.

If the school reaches its $10 million goal, he said, it would have about 30 classrooms, plus computer and science labs, library, administrative offices, gymnasium and baseball and softball fields. He said the athletic fields are lowest on the priority list because the school's current fields recently got upgrades.

Room for 500 students

Decatur Heritage is a Class 1A school in the Alabama High School Athletic Association's size classifications with about 342 students. Mayo said he would like to have enough room in the new school for 500 students.

"We want to build to provide the folks we have with a quality educational environment, but we also want to have room for expansion," he said.

Mayo expects that a new building would attract more students. He's already getting about 35 more for next year. And, like other school leaders in the area, he has been trying to figure out how his school could benefit from the federal Base Realignment and Closure Commission's plan.

"If 5,000 come to this area, we figure we might get about 100 more students," Mayo said.

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