New School for the Northport Community
UPDATED: November 6, 2017
A copy of the statement presented to the Tuscaloosa News may be accessed by clicking here.
UPDATED: October 31, 2017 [Click here for Board presentation]
Meeting in a called meeting on Monday, October 30, 2017, the Tuscaloosa County Board of Education approved the plan as recommended by Dr. Davie for the schools in Northport, to include a new 5th-6th school. Please click above to see the full Powerpoint presentation. The process will begin immediately but due to the time needed for planning, designing, and actual school conctruction, the plan woul dnot be fully implemented until August 2020.
UPDATED: October 24, 2017 [Click here for a Adobe version of this information]
Due to the expected growth in the Northport area, the Tuscaloosa County School System has identified a true need for an additional school for Northport. This past year, meetings with Northport leaders as well as two community meetings were held to present plans for a new school. Based on the feedback and concerns voiced in those meetings, we have continued to work and look for options that can address the need for the entire Northport feeder pattern as best possible with the available resources. The plan as presented earlier in the year will not go forward, however, we are in the process of revising a plan for the area.
The over-riding concerns are the schools in the entire feeder pattern that are already at capacity and the growth projections for the area. Plans must address, to the best degree possible, ways to create space in several schools in the feeder pattern as well as provide for programmatic opportunities. In addition to the Northport area, there are a multitude of needs across the entire school system that cannot be met with current funding. This area has a priority due to higher than average growth.
The following schools make up the feeder pattern for Northport that lead into Tuscaloosa County High for grades 9-12.
Northport Elementary (PreK - 2)
Huntington Place Elementary (3rd-5th)
Crestmont Elementary (PreK-5th)
Matthews Elementary (PreK-5th)
Faucett-Vestavia Elementary (PreK-5th)
Flatwoods Elementary (PreK-5th)
Echols Middle (6th-8th)
Collins-Riverside Middle (6th-8th)
Schools That Are Already at or Exceeding Capacity:
Crestmont Elem (7 portables)
Matthews Elem (3 portables)
Flatwoods Elem (8 portables)
Collins-Riverside (2 portables this year)
Northport Elementary & Huntington Place Elementary do not have any portables but enrollment projections show that growth is coming is coming that will quickly cause capacity issues in both of these schools.
Cafeteria Sizes Are a Concern
Several of the elementary schools have cafeterias that are too small for any additional growth.
School Sq. Ft./Student Present Lunch Times
Crestmont (12.27) 10:30-12:45
Matthews (8.9) 10:30-12:10
Flatwoods (7.24) 10:15 – 12:45
Huntington-Place (8.7) 10:30-1:05
What Adjustments to the Originally Proposed Plan Have Been Made?
Size of the proposed school too large
Capacity for 1,000
Capacity for 700
Number of different schools a student would have to attend from PreK through 12th grade
Up to 5 different schools
Up to 4 different schools
Larger school at 1,000; students coming from all parts of feeder pattern
Capacity of school reduced by 300; only students in the Northport Elementary, Flatwoods Elementary, & Huntington Place Elementary schools would attend; grade re-configuration at Northport Elementary & Huntington Place Elementary will reduce traffic having to cross the busy highway 43 intersection; traffic study being conducted by engineers to help with recommendations for placement of school and routing decisions.
Students beginning in grade 5 would all go to the one new school from all feeder schools
Students would remain in basic community areas through grade 6.
Echols Middle as a 7th-8th grade school for all students in the feeder pattern will allow for use of existing athletic fields
Students in a 5th-6th and 7th-8th configuration will not do well.
There are other high performing school districts across the nation and in Alabama (Hartselle City & Hoover City as examples) that have the same grade configurations and their students do very well. Students in Northport are just as capable and the faculty & staff for these schools will be excellent.
Property values will decrease and plan will have a negative effect on the city’s growth.
The population density of Northport is unique within the Tuscaloosa County School System. Growth has been steady with good property values with students grade 6th-8th being moved to the Collins-Riverside & Echols; now, one less grade level of students will move and students will actually stay a year longer in the community area.
Current Position & Plan Being Advanced
In response to voiced concerns and with the original goal of providing assistance to all schools in the Northport feeder pattern, plans are now headed in the direction as listed below.
(1) Reconfiguring Northport Elem and Huntington Place Elem into Pre-K through 4th grade schools.
(2) Crestmont, Matthews, Flatwoods, and Faucett-Vestavia would become Pre-K through 4th grade schools.
(3) The new school to be located somewhere close to TCHS would become a 5th-6th grade school serving the students from Northport Elementary, Huntington Place, and Flatwoods.
(4) Collins-Riverside would become a 5th-6th serving the students from Crestmont, Matthews, and Faucett-Vestavia.
(5) Finally, Echols would become a 7th and 8th grade school where all 7th and 8th graders would attend from all elementary schools.
An addition would be built at Echols. Middle school athletics begins in 7th grade and there are adequate athletic facilities close to Echols.
Advantages with this Plan
This plan responds to several concerns and needs for the Northport area.
- It creates greatly needed space for student capacity and anticipated growth in ALL of the schools in the feeder pattern.
- Students would progress through four schools Pre-K through 12th grade (same as the students in the Hillcrest zone).
- It assists with traffic concerns with the re-configuration of Northport Elem and Huntington Place as well as now only sending 7th/8th graders to Echols.
- The new school will have a capacity of 700, rather than up to 1,000 as originally planned.
- Beginning in 7th grade, students in the Tuscaloosa County High zone will remain together in one cohort. Better cohesiveness will result and we will be able to offer stronger programs in athletics as well as fine arts.
Why can we not be like everyone else?
The population density in Northport is not like everyone else. There are unique concerns with population growth in Northport that are not the same in other attendance zones. And, "everyone else is not like everyone else". The Sipsey Valley attendance zone is in the process of getting a 5th-8th grade school, similarly re-configuring their elementary schools due to capacity issues. In order to address the needs of a vast school system, one size just doesn't fit all.
Has the Tuscaloosa County SChool System suported the Northport Schools?
The Tuscaloosa County School System lost $21 million during the three years of 2008-2010 enactment of proration. Even during those times, thanks to the special sales tax issuances by the Tuscaloosa County Commission, much was accomplished for our school system and Northport in particular. Including the proposed Career Tech Annex and new school to be built in Northport, since 2006, the Tuscaloosa County School System will have expended over $71.5 million just for Northport schools. A breakdown of those projects are listed below.
New TCHS Stadium
Renovate Old Stadium
Demolish Old TCHS Site
Flatwoods Activity Building *
Matthews Activity Building *
Crestmont Activity Building *
Flatwoods Classroom Addition
Northport Activity Building *
TCHS Athletic Renovations
Life Safety Upgrades in Northport
Collins Riverside Technology
Remodel Lloyd Wood for Sprayberry
Huntington Place Roof
Tuscaloosa County High Roof
Huntington Roof (budgeted)
Collins-Riverside Restrooms (budgeted)
Crestmont Electrical Upgrade (budgeted)
Career Tech Annex (Budgeted)
Echols Addition (Budgeted)
New Northport School (Budgeted)
* Many school communities had to build their own activity buildings through local community fund-raising; TCSS committed $2,939,310 to Northport schools for this purpose.
How long does it take to build a new school?
It takes about two full years to build a new school. With the growth already developing in Northport, construction efforts need to begin very soon.