What promised to be another long session for a controversial new subdivision on Carr and Broadway was cut short by the case postponement. In less than 30 minutes the commission approved four amended development plans for the school board and a residential lot combination in Hollywood.
Members present: Billy Higginbotham, chair, Jeffrey Foster, vice chair, Battalion Chief Nickolas Hill, John Krontiras, Britt Thames, James Riddle, and Brady Wilson.
Absent: Stuart Roberts and Mark Woods.
Staff present: Donna Bridges, board clerk, and Fred Goodwin, planner, part-time.
Audience attendance: 11
*Rezoning and final development plan cases for Mixed Use Districts (MXD) are advisory and subject to final approval by the city council.
Approved development plan changes for substantial additions to four Homewood public schools for architecture firm Goodwin Mills & Cawood, with most contractor bids still pending. The contractor for adding secure entry vestibules at the three elementary schools is Duncan & Thompson Construction: Homewood schools superintendent Bill Cleveland and Hoar Program Management in October announced $44 million in planned additions and interior remodeling and renovations to all five Homewood school buildings, plus improvements to Waldrop Stadium track. Tonight, architect Cole Williams of Goodwin Mills & Cawood presented the final addition plans on four of those buildings requiring a change in the development plan. Shades Cahaba Elementary will also have interior renovations, which do not require an amended plan. Applicants were unable to give one commissioner a cost update since construction bids are pending, however, architecture fees typically fall in the range of 5-7% of those costs. Early estimates showed the high school additions taking close to 50% of the $55 million bond money allotted for school expansions.
Homewood High School at 1901 South Lakeshore Drive: Plans call for demolishing 21,500 square feet (fine arts building and field house) and rebuilding over 100,000 square feet in additions to the side facing Lakeshore, thereby switching the current entrance from the south to the north. Some east parking will be reduced but new spaces built on the current field will add a net of 25 parking slots, Mr. Williams said. Construction, to be completed in August 2019, will include a new 2-level classroom addition with 14 new classrooms and a new sports pavilion. Interior renovations previously discussed include expanded kitchen and dining, “collaborative spaces,” “learning hubs” and other changes to improve the flow of foot traffic.
Homewood Middle School at 395 Mecca Avenue: Homewood Middle School will add a 3,700 square foot addition on the gymnasium to add six classrooms, two each for the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade halls, according to the school system’s website. Other interior changes discussed previously include a secure entry modification, moving wrestling/cheer to a multipurpose addition, and building out the choral room into the former wrestling/cheer space. Work to begin this month with completion slated for August 2019.
Commissioner Wilson questioned why the middle school had a 200-meter track, when competition tracks are 400 meters long. Supt. Bill Cleveland answered, saying there is no such track at the middle school any more, but there are plans to build a new one on the Valley Avenue property. He said middle school students will be bused to Waldrop Stadium for competition track and use the middle school track, which will have an asphalt surface, only for recreation and P.E. According to the school system’s website, the Waldrop track will be completely replaced, beginning immediately, and include a new sprint lane. Architect is Holcomb Norton Partners with contractor Coston General Contractors, Inc. No completion date has been set.
Hall-Kent Elementary at 2213 Hall Avenue: Plans are to add an 8,800 square foot 2-story wing extending into the field, adding 6 new classrooms. Other interior changes discussed previously are roof, finish, and intercom upgrades, in addition to a secure entrance vestibule.
Edgewood Elementary at 901 College Avenue: An 8,500 square foot 2-story, 4-classroom addition is planned to the rear, protruding into the walking track, which will be re-routed. Interior improvements discussed previously include an expanded cafeteria, serving and kitchen upgrades, electrical and intercom upgrades as well as a secure entrance vestibule.
For all schools, the central office reports enforcing safety by keeping student exposure to construction to a minimum and fencing off construction zones. Workers will be cleared through background checks.
Carried over to June a request for preliminary development plan for a new subdivision on Carr and Saulter: Last month’s bid by developers Jason and Charles Kessler to rezone and approve a 2-acre tract at Carr Avenue and “short” Saulter for a high-density planned subdivision of 12 houses failed commission approval. The developer had planned to bring a revised preliminary plan tonight for 800-808 Saulter Road and 809 Carr Avenue, but were asked to carry the case over to June. Owners: Charles Kessler, Ben & Ashley McCullars, Albert Evans.
Approved combining two lots/parcels on Windsor Drive into 1 lot/parcel: The owner of 124 Windsor Drive asked to combine that lot and one he owns next-door at 126 Windsor Drive into a single lot, no future building plans discussed. The lots drawn in the pre-zoning year 1926 are narrow, with the house on 124 only 4 feet from the property line, he said. The commission believed combining the lots would not adversely affect computations of required lot sizes for future development, and voted to approve.