New school: coming soon in Madison

Fall is a busy time in Madison City Schools. I love the atmosphere–football games in the stadium, the fall carnivals, the plays and all the other activities beyond the instructional day. This fall is launching another major activity for our school district: the start of construction on our new elementary school. Groundbreaking on the new middle school should soon follow.

These projects would be possible without the public’s generous approval of the 12-mil property tax increase to build new schools. Your overwhelming support –the vote passed by a 70 percent margin in Madison and by more than 80 percent in Triana–is a tremendous vote of confidence in MCS.

These projects will provide much-needed relief from our overcrowding. Proceeds will also be used for safety and security improvements for the district, staffing and instructional support for the new schools, repurposing West Madison Elementary into a district wide Pre-K Center and expansion of both high schools.

The new elementary school site is off Wall Triana Highway by the Kroger shopping center. The Board purchased the land in 2014 for future use. The middle school will go behind the Central Office building off Celtic Drive; that land was part of the 2005 property acquisition for the CO and Madison City Stadium.

I am excited to get these new schools open. We are about out of space. More schools are the only way to reduce overcrowding and pursue lower pupil-teacher ratios, which presently are among the state’s worst.

Our plan is to open the elementary school for the 2021-22 school year and the middle school for the 2022-23 school year. I will share the architectural renderings for those schools as soon as they are available.The high school expansions should start in a few years.

The last new school in Madison was James Clemens, which opened in 2012. Before then it was Mill Creek in 2009, Columbia in 2005 and Rainbow in 2001. Bob Jones underwent a major renovation and expansion in 2015 and Liberty Middle in 2017-18. Discovery Middle and Madison Elementary have also had extensive work in the past couple of years.

The capital investment we are about to make for these new schools is a huge undertaking. The financial arrangements are the most extensive since MCS left the county to become an independent school district in 1998. The Board and I promise transparency, and we give you our word we will continue to be good stewards of all the funding that is entrusted to us.

Robby Parker