Huxford Elementary, ECSS officials hold informational meeting on new classroom, gym addition

Published 1:44 pm Thursday, May 16, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

To say Huxford Elementary School officials and students are excited about the proposed forthcoming classroom and gym additions is an understatement.

PH&J Architects Inc. of Montgomery on May 15 provided the Huxford community, Escambia County School System officials and interested stakeholders an informational meeting on the planned addition.

Principal Leah Fuqua said HES is the only school within the county school system that doesn’t have a gymnasium.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“The school was built in 1928, and if there is inclement weather, students have had to have (physical education) inside in the auditorium, in classrooms and in a library portable,” Fuqua said. “We have a relatively new addition of sun sails, which shields students from the sun.

“Now, it’s time to add on to the next generation of our kids,” she added. “I could not be more excited for what’s to come; I can say that for all teachers, parents and most especially, the children.”

PH&J Architect Project Designer Clint Wright, who has been working on the project for a year and a half, said the firm has gone through a handful of different iterations, and they’re excited to get going.

“We are hoping and working our best right now that by August of this year, to get contractors and start putting numbers on this project,” Wright said. “That would allow us to break ground this coming fall. It’ll take a year and a half to build this thing. That’s 2025 hopefully.

“That’s our big goal, within two years this thing will be on the ground and students are going to be occupying it,” he added.

Wright said the planned new addition includes five classrooms – four traditional and one flex room – a 94-foot basketball court with fold-in bleachers, a school library, lobby and heritage area and a storm shelter designed to fit the entire school. He added that the new addition will also house an archery range, a unique activity that’s picked up in popularity among students. The planned building’s square footage is 32,000 feet.

When asked where the building will be located, Wright said it’ll be built on the south side of the campus and will take some green space.

“We are really pushing it forward in our office,” Wright said. “They understand what’s happening. Everything is in the works to get this thing out the door, come early August and then we’ll do bids late August.”
Deputy of Operations Shaun Goolsby said once the project is bid out to contractors, the school board will then approve or disapprove the project. If the project is approved, a groundbreaking will be scheduled, he added.

Wright was asked if the building would be complete by next fall.
“Realistically, knowing where the construction world is right now, it would not happen,” he said. “That would be requiring contractors to push past limits we would love to see. We’ll try to get this going as a fast and quality build, but based on size, it’s a 18-month build.”

Wright expressed his thanks to the ECSS and HES for entrusting them to design the new addition.

“We are very thankful y’all are allowing us to do this,” Wright said. “I’m tearing up because this is a baby of mine.”

This is a rendering of the proposed classroom and gym addition at Huxford Elementary School. | Submitted photo