Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Superintendent Elizabeth Swinford Says New Holt High Should Have Career-Tech Education

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Superintendent Elizabeth Swinford Says New Holt High Should Have Career-Tech Education

Article excerpt

Tuscaloosa County School System Superintendent Elizabeth Swinford and members of the Tuscaloosa County Board of Education shared their ideas at a committee meeting Tuesday on what major programs should be housed at a new Holt High School and where the school should be located.

Swinford said one of the major programs she's looking to start at the new $34 million school is a large career technical education center. She said she doesn't want the center to compete with the Tuscaloosa City Schools' Tuscaloosa Career Technology Academy but that she wants it to complement the academy.

"The way TCTA exist is fantastic," Swinford said. "They save a few seats (for our students) there."

She said the Holt High center would have other career tech programs not found at TCTA -- except for the video program, which she said a large number of county school students want.

Swinford said she would offer seats to Tuscaloosa City Schools students at the center just like the city school system offers seats to county students at TCTA.

Another major program Swinford said she'd like to see at the new Holt High is a STEAM (Science & Technology interpreted through Engineering & the Arts, all based in Mathematical elements) academy wing.

"It would be very to nice to have a wing that's all for science, engineering and math, especially with Nucor Steel and the University of Alabama right there," she said. "We should have our school be a representative of that business partner."

But before system leaders can move forward with any serious program planning for the new Holt High, they need to find a location for the school. The school's current location on Alabama Avenue is not large enough to meet the new school's land needs.

Jim Ward, president of Ward-Scott Architects, said the new school will need 35 to 40 acres. Preferably, that land will be in the Holt zone, he said.

"We're not going to restrict it to the Holt area," Ward said. "We're going to look at it first. It would be better to look at land with utility access, because if you don't have that, you have to spend more public money to provide utilities and roads. It'll cost a lot more money to develop the land."

Swinford said she'd like the school to be closer to the University of Alabama and Nucor. …

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