MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Students, teachers and administrators of Loveless Academic Magnet High School spent their first day on their temporary campus Monday.
The school will call the former Houston Hill Junior High School, which closed a few years ago, home until its new permanent home at the old Montgomery Mall is finished.
During a special meeting in November, the Montgomery County Board of Education approved the purchase of the former JCPenney building for $750,000. The school district already owns the Parisian building. LAMP and the Montgomery Technical Education Center will move into 160,000 square feet of the existing structure.
The school district estimates the entire project to move both schools into the mall will cost about $20 million. That's a big savings for the school district. Officials say the cost to build the last brand new school for the district was about $35 million.
They hope to have everything finished for the schools to open in the mall in 2016.
The school board voted unanimously to issue a declaration of emergency and approve the move into the old Houston Hill campus in September. Superintendent Margaret Allen said two different engineering companies independently confirmed some major problems at LAMP.
"Sinking window seals on the west side of the building, and termites in the basement of the building, pretty extensively, and a couple issues in the library of the building," Allen said.
MPS officials were hoping LAMP's existing building would hold out until they could establish a new permanent home, but the problems that have been identified as needing immediate attention at LAMP's current facility would cost more to repair than MPS is willing to invest in a building they don't plan to use long-term.
Houston Hill required some repairs, remodeling and the addition of some portable classrooms. Administrators estimated the cost of moving to the temporary location would be between $300,000 and $500,000.