Spanish Fort approves funding $1-million field house


SPANISH FORT – The city of Spanish Fort is moving forward with plans to build a new women’s field house at Spanish Fort High School, but the project will cost more than expected, city officials said.

The council voted Monday, April 5, to approve funding for the project. The bid for the project was $1,006,500.

Mayor Mike McMillan said the initial estimate on the project had been $800,000. The city budgeted $900,000 to build the field house. The final bid was $106,000 more than the budgeted projection.

“This was one of those items put in the budget. Unfortunately, the bids came in a little bit higher,” McMillan said.

He said construction costs have been increasing in recent months.

“Construction costs have just gone through the roof,” McMillan said. “So, we're looking to subsidize that project a little bit higher than what our budget was and make our budget work.”

At a February meeting of the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce in February, McMillan said Spanish Fort officials felt that the community and school had grown to the point that a separate field house was needed for girls’ athletic events.

“In the athletic side we budgeted for a girls’ field house at our high school. Spanish Fort has grown tremendously just like the other cities and our high school has sort of outgrown itself. When we built the original field house it was all well and good, but it’s reached the point where we need to separate the boys from the girls. So, we’re going to put a separate field house out there for the girls to the tune of about $1 million, which is a big hit on a city our size.”

Under an agreement with the Baldwin County Board of Education, the city will pay the cost to build the new field house. The school system designed the facility and went out for bids on the project. The board will also pay the cost of connecting utilities to the new building, David Conner, city attorney, said.

Spanish Fort High School opened in 2005. In 2020, the school opened a new wing and gymnasium complex that officials said was needed due to the area’s rapid growth.