By Russell Sellers, Army Flier StaffJune 17, 2010
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- This August, students attending Enterprise High School have a new place to call "home."
The new, 520,000- square-foot facility is nearing completion at the corner of Main Street and Boll Weevil Circle and is scheduled to be ready for the first day of school, Aug. 23.
"I never dreamed we'd be building a new high school," Enterprise City Schools operations director Bob Tomberlin said. "It's a great opportunity for us. Kids today have to compete with other children worldwide and we need to provide the best possible education."
The new high school came about after a tornado destroyed the previous one March 1, 2007. Nine people were killed in the disaster.
Garrison Commander Col. Yvette Kelley, School Liaison Officer John Jennings, Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Director Tim Laster and Child, Youth and School Services Program Operations Specialist Kathy Vickers toured the new school June 4. All said, the campus is one of the most impressive facilities they've seen.
"It was more than I could have expected," Kelley said. "It rivals some of the best college campuses I have seen and it's great because our children deserve it."
Laster said it was the first time in 40 years he wished he could go back to high school.
Tomberlin noted the new school's design takes into account possible future growth. The school is larger than what is currently needed and has designated space for future construction, if it's ever needed. The new school has a 2,200-student capacity, but around 1,500 students are expected to attend this fall.
"It would be a sin to look back in two years and say 'gosh, we need more space'," Tomberlin said. "Other than the tornado hitting us, the biggest problem we had at the old school was having enough space."
After the tornado, students attended classes in portable classroom trailers, he said, noting being able to get out of the trailers and back into real classrooms is a step in the right direction.
"We don't believe in portables," Tomberlin said. "Our plan is to make sure we never need those again."
Along with the school is a new, 8,000-seat football stadium, he added. Construction on the new stadium is almost finished, but other athletic fields are still in development stages.
Construction on a new baseball and softball diamond, track course and tennis courts have yet to begin, Tomberlin said. However, officials hope construction is under way soon and finished within a year.
Parents may register their children at area schools throughout the summer, but Jennings encourages parents to call ahead first and make appointments. Children living on post can attend installation schools through sixth grade and then transfer to one of the area schools. Parents of children who attend seventh through 12th grades may select schools they wish their children to attend, he noted.
"The staff at the schools will be much smaller during the summer months so parents should make sure the principal is available before going out," he said.
Jennings also recommended parents let their children help select their school preferences.
"Parent and child should look at the schools together," he said. "Kids pick up on nuances parents might miss and they need to go where they feel most comfortable."
For more information about area schools or for information regarding bus and school schedules, visit http://ftruckermwr.com/CYSS/SchoolLiaisonSS.php#SLM or call 255-9812.