Another New Grissom Site to “Add Value To City”

In a surprise move, the board actually discussed yet another new site location for Grissom High School tonight. Since there were objections to the first “Weatherly Road” site, they have talked with the Hays family and have instead settled on a site that is directly south of that site, immediately behind Sam’s Club on South Parkway.

Here’s a picture of the “new” new Grissom site.

The new, new Grissom Site

Supposedly this location is “even better” that the first new Grissom site that was originally considered just north of this location in the reddish area pictured above.

Dr. Wardynski, with his trademarked smirk, even made a point of thanking all the people who “were worried about this issue. They helped us get a better piece of land.” (Dr. Robinson, ever the cheerleader, can be heard in the background giggling at this remark.) Dr. Wardynski completed his comments by saying that they would be bringing a proposal to the board to vote on this new site in April.

Then Dr. Robinson chimed in. Dr. Robinson is the board member for Grissom High, and there has never been a Wardynski nor a development proposal that she didn’t love.

Here’s what she had to say about this presentation.

Robinson: I just want to say how excited I am to see this. I’ve been waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and I know the community has as well, for just, for something definitive. And y’all have done a remarkable job of negotiating this and finding the very best possible piece of land, and I can’t wait to see what we do as we go forward. Just to clarify then, we will have a contract at some point in April? According to this timeline?

Wardynski: If not sooner.

Robinson: If not sooner? Excellent. And the key piece of concern is what happens to the existing site, and plans are in place there, and so we should have that also in April, if not sooner? Some sense of what that will look like?

Wardynski: We’re working on a separate agreement with the city.

Robinson: But the assurance is, that whatever goes into that site will add value to the neighborhood. We’re not hanging a for sale sign on it. It’s not going to be an empty space. It’s going to be a partnership that will really increase the value of that . . .

Wardynski: (interrupting) It’ll become city property. And their intentions, I’ve been talking to the mayor, is theater, gym, athletic facilities, and maybe some other additional features. s

Robinson: But again, it’ll be a strength to that neighborhood. It’s sort of a part of a package?

Upchurch: The words up there “Community Asset” came right out of Mayor Battle’s off . . . uh mouth. I used his words.

Robinson: Thank you, very much, everybody, for your work on this.

She’s really excited about this.

And you’ll notice how she and Dr. Wardynski are speaking of this: it’s a done deal. Back in January during the single community meeting that they held, they (Wardynski, Upchurch, and Wilson) made a point of telling the community that no decision had been made yet concerning the location of Grissom.

Then on Saturday, Councilman Olshefski told the Times:  “Dr. Wardynski is getting ready to come out with a plan, that’s going to show what happens if the school moves over to another site.”

I guess this is that plan. And you’ll note that the plan made no mention of leaving Grissom in its current location. As Robinson referred to this plan, this is “something definitive.” In other words, when they bring a recommendation to the board in April (if not sooner), Wardynski will recommend exactly one location: directly behind Sam’s Club.

Rebuilding on the current site is a dead deal. It’s time to put your house on the market. The current Grissom will be closed in three years.

Robinson then followed up her sycophantic praise with another “interesting” claim:

But you know, I would also note that the letters that we got, and I think we got ten of them, were from out of state. They weren’t from the local community. They weren’t from people who had concerns for the needs of our children. And that’s our prime responsibility. So, you know, while I appreciate their efforts to share with us where archeological remains are located so they could continue to hunt, we have a responsibility to educate our kids and provide the best possible resources for them, and I think we’ve done that.

So evidently, the only opposition that Robinson received was from groups who were out of state and only concerned about hunting. She received no other “letters” from “the local community.”

“Interesting,” isn’t it? Someone asked me after hearing this: “Did you check to see if her pants were on fire?”

Wardynski, ever one to suck up to the business interests in this town corrected her statement that they were doing this “for the kids,” by saying:

Well, and I always think we’re here to add value to our city. And for the folks in that area (which are whom, exactly?) this ought to add a  nice boost to property values, growth and all that.

And so we close on the truth. What really concerns Wardynski isn’t the kids and their education, but rather “adding value to our city.”

One question, Dr. Robinson, if I may. If you’re right that the community fully supports this plan to move Grissom from its current location, then why exactly was this discussion held under an agenda item entitled, “G. High School Update“? If the community truly does support the moving of Grissom High to a parkway location, then why was the agenda specifically and intentionally misleading? Surely it wouldn’t have taken that much more time to write, “G. Grissom High School Update,” would it?

(Not to worry. I’ll be sure and send you this question via certified letter tomorrow morning. What’s that address again? Oh that’s right, you don’t publish your mailing address on the district’s website, do you?)

No, they couldn’t let people know what they were talking about tonight because then people in the community might have actually shown up for the meeting to hear Robinson claim that the only complaints she’s received were from out of state.

Then people in the community might have been there to see Mr. Upchurch celebrating his easy presentation to the board in the hallway once he had been dismissed.

Then people would have been there to ask questions about this move and the motivations driving it.

Then, people would have heard Wardynski state that this decision was made to “add value to our city.”

They were, in fact, so afraid that the public might show up that they couldn’t even give the public 24 hours notice that they were talking about Grissom again.

These are the moves and actions of cowards who obviously do not believe that the decisions they’re making are the best for “our children” as Robinson claimed.

They are the best decisions for the Hays family and all the developers who are just chomping at the bit to start building a new subdivision in that area.

That’s what this board cares about. They’re just too cowardly to admit it before a room full of citizens who might call them out for putting developers ahead of children.

Rumor has it that land moving equipment was seen on this location today. So much for involving the public in this decision.

"Children see magic because they look for it." --Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel according to Biff, Jesus' childhood pal.


  1. This is about moving Grissom High School further “south”. If they keep it up GHS isgoing end up in the river or in Arab. Has the Justice Department approved the move from it’s present location to it’s new location for the “good of the city?”

      1. I know the Board hired a lawyer specializing in “freeing schools from federal oversight”. http://blog.al.com/times-views/2012/06/freeing_huntsville_schools_fro.html
        “Wardynski and school board members must focus next on getting the school system out from under a 42-year-old desegregation court order stemming from Alabama’s racist past.

        Last week’s board approval to hire an attorney specializing in getting the system released from the statewide desegregation lawsuit will help achieve that goal.

        That the school system remains under the order carries a stigma that can stifle growth and affect business recruitment.”

        To my knowledge that hasn’t happened yet. http://blog.al.com/breaking/2011/02/feds_huntsville_public_schools.html
        “HUNTSVILLE, AL — Huntsville City Schools still has too many racial inequities to move out from under a 1970 federal desegregation order, according to a letter from the U.S. Department of Justice.

        The letter, provided by school officials on Monday, says the Justice Department expects the school board to address disparities in student and faculty assignments, advanced courses and discipline as it tries to whittle down a $19.5 million deficit. “

        1. Yes, this person has been hired. Yes, we are still under the desegregation order. For some reason, McCaulley was speaking of it positively last night in reference to the “flexibility” bill. She felt it important to tell us that federal law trumps a state law.

          What I meant to say was that I haven’t heard any discussion about the impact of the order on moving Grissom.

    1. Not really. Most people had no idea they were talking about Grissom at all last night. The only person who spoke about Grissom was Jackie Reed.

  2. the land has been being cleared for the past couple weeks. we noticed it and were talking about it a few days ago.

  3. The land for the new site was being prepped for sale as a “big box” retail site and it didn’t start this month – we’ve seen people and equipment there since around Christmas. The DOJ input was discussed a long time ago with JR, I think in the meeting that presented the Capital Plan. Both Grissom and Johnson are being rebuilt at the same time, so there will be no disparity as a result – not sure if that was the expectation or if the inquiries have been made – everything is going through that lady lawyer that was hired. The poll results about rebuilding Grissom are now on the HCS website and worth reviewing.

    1. So the reason they are building a new Johnson and making it a middle school and a high school is so they can build a new Grissom.

  4. I guess Sam’s Club is going to have to make sure they don’t have any cases of beer or bottles of wine in their coolers, ready to go. It will all now have to be sold at room temperature.

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