Wordy Wednesday about Helena | News
Historic Helena House Burns
A historic home owned by Daniel Johns at the end of the Ruffin Road burned down yesterday morning. The family is okay. Fox 6 had a great article by Melynda Sides and Johnathan Hardison. " Johns said he, his daughter, son-in-law and two grandkids managed to escape without injuries after his son-in-law smelled smoke". The home was not insured so friends are checking to see what they need. Full Article
The Mr. Johns said that the building was the site a Helena Stage Coach stop. I spoke to Helena historian Ken Penhale and he said the Jemison line used to pass through the city down on Ruffin Road. The line was developed by Col. Robert Jemison, Jr and was used mainly to transport people from Montgomery to Birmingham. It traveled 60 miles a day with the main rest stop in Jemison, AL.
High School Presentation
Lee Bryant from Lathan Associates Architects came and spoke at the Friends of Helena Schools membership. The president of FOHS, Melissa Brooks, introduced Lee and Mayor Mark Hall so they could give an update about the schools and take questions from the audience. Lee's firm is working on the Helena Elementary, Helena Intermediate and the Helena High School projects. He covered the construction status of HES and HIS which are nearing completion. He also showed the current plans for the High School and the Athletic faculties. The Helena High School building is 50% complete and is currently still on target for Summer 2014 completion. The sports stadium, field and building received bids last Thursday. It was higher than expected but they are working with the current lowest bidder to see what can be done.
The Helena High School will the first one in the State and one of the few in the United States with a storm shelter which can survive 250 miles winds. The large rooms will also be used for the Band, Choral, Drama, and Health Science. It will be able to hold the entire staff and student body but as the school expands they will need more. It will also have bathrooms to support a loss of water flow.
It will have 3 computer labs with one connecting to the media center by stairs. The Library will have large glass windows that look out into a courtyard which will be landscaped. The sport stadium and school is following the newest State and Federal standards which will make it the most modern high school in the State. The sports area will have 1 toilet for every 30 women and one for every 50 men. The High schools of yesteryear did not take into account school's expansion so their hallways, cafeteria, media center tended to be small and narrow but ours will be large and will take into account that the school population will expand.
He gave some totals for the parking spaces which I think totaled 750 spaces. They will also have sidewalks to connect the parking lot to the school. An additional sidewalk will connect the middle school so their lot can be used during night games and vice-versa. There will be three roads to the school, with grading for a possible 4th to be added in the future. The gym will have premium wood with a cushioning system, the band room will come with equipment closets. The auditorium and classrooms will come pre-wired for all future technology needs. The school is being designed with last 100 years including preparations for future buildings and parking.
There were some questions about security (camera systems and doors), school bus parking, and questions about the bandroom. Melissa Brooks and Scott Hassler ended the meeting with giving everyone an update on the FOHS projects and what we do to help the schools like a 5k, halloween party, and welcome bags. Please join up or volunteer at Friends of Helena Schools .
PHS Band Honors
From the PHS Tower of Power FB page: Congrats to the Concert Band, Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble for all receiving superior ratings at MPA on Wednesday. The Concert and Symphonic Bands both received a 1-2-1-1 for their ratings and the Wind Ensemble received a 1-1-1-1 with a notation of “with distinction” from the judges.
They were one of only a handful of high schools statewide to get three bands through MPA with all the bands receiving superior ratings. They were also the only Shelby County high school band to receive the “with distinction” notation.
Monday's Council Meeting
I didn't take great notes at the meeting because I spend time listening and speaking. So here is my recollection.
Jobs: You want to work in Helena? There are openings at the City of Helena website in the Utility, Parks, Public works, and Fire departments.
Newsletter: There two companies that bid on the Helena Newsletter. The council members will have until next Tuesday at 11:30am during a special called meeting to decide which to chose.
Alabama Communities of Excellence: The city of Helena will apply for the Alabama Communities of Excellence. It is another great opportunity for us to help Helena. It will help "addresses comprehensive planning, commercial business development, education enhancement, infrastructure, health and human services, retiree attraction, tourism, economic development, and quality of life/recreation issues".
Shelby One: We authorize Mayor Hall to execute the contract with the Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce for the Shelby One Program. It will assist current Helena business and help recruit new ones.
Park Pavilion Rental: I am afraid I was the sick in the mud about this. I'm okay with people being able to reserve parks pavilions for a fee but I wanted some to remain free. I think the compromise may be that some can be reserved and other left free or that the pavilions in Joe Tucker and Cahaba Lily can be reserved on weekends but free during the week days. Also there will be a 30 day notice and a sign posted.
Helena High School Athletic Facilities Bids: You read above that the bid for the High School Athletics Facilities. Mayor Hall gave the Council an update. All the bids were high. The architects will work with the current lowest bidder or rebid if necessary This should not delay the opening of the stadium which is scheduled for Summer of 2014. It is part of the process and they schedule this type of event.
Recognition of the Helena Police Explorers: Congratulations to our Helena Police explorers. They represented the City of Helena in a recent competition and won 1st in several events and 2nd is a few more. If I had my notes, I could tell you more. It is an incredible program and we are happy to have it here in Helena.
Council Member Plans: Since I don't have my notes, I am going to combine some highlights I remember. We discussed projects we were working on and things we would like to see in the future. Mike Jones said he would like to see a rail guard at one the railroad crossing, estimates on sport field cost and improving marketing of the City. I spoke about reviewing ordinances and improving Roy Drive. The Mayor talking about allow more online payments for the city. Cris Nelson spoke about the Helena Belles recent event at the Sport Complex, the Buck Creek Festival and a possible Strawberry festival in Helena. Leslie Bartlett spoke about the Read Across America project at the Elementary school and Leigh spoke about ongoing improvement for the Parks and Recreation.
I had to write this quickly so I hope all the facts are correct. If I missed something then email and I will update.