BY LAUREN HENRY
When Highland Elementary School students begin their three-week fall break on Monday, the school will begin extensive renovations to two primary restrooms and a staff restroom, as well as repainting the school.
The Greeneville Board of Education approved the renovations at their Thursday evening meeting, where Beverly Miller, Assistant Director of Schools for Administration, outlined the need for the urgent and extensive renovations.
According to Miller's report, "The primary bathroom facilities at Highland Elementary School are in dire need of a complete renovation. There are various plumbing, health and safety issues present in both the girls and boys restrooms.
"In addition, the small staff bathroom is in equally bad condition."
The school was facing decertification for its pre-school program if the dilapidated restrooms were not renovated.
The school currently has no handicap-accessible restrooms so the renovations will reorganize the facilities to make both the boys' and girls' restrooms handicap-accessible.
Miller said that as soon as city school officials were made aware of the risk of decertification, she and Phillip Graham, district maintenance supervisor, began to create a plan to address the problem.
The renovations are projected to take three weeks and cost $26,450. The funds will come out of the capital improvements-designated budget money.
The school will also use the three-week break to paint the walls. According to Miller, it has been about 15 years since the school has been repainted.
BAND ROOM ROOF
The board also approved plans to replace the roof of the Greeneville High School Band Room.
Miller said, "There are multiple areas of concern, and replacement is the only option in this case."
The board approved the lowest bid for a roofing contractor. Davis Brothers Roofing, Inc. projected a total cost of $46,875.
The school has never contracted with the Hawkins County-based roofing company before, but Miller said that the Hawkins County school district contracts with the company and has been pleased with past work.
The funds will come out of the capital improvements-designated budget money.
Miller said the roof on the high school field house is also in need of repair.
She said they hope to control the two leaks for under $5,000 in repair work, but the school will need to replace the roof most likely within the next year.
Miller said the school system is in dire need of more maintenance workers. She asked the board to approve moving maintenance employee Craig Gaby into a full-time painting position and hire an additional maintenance employee.
According to Miller, the current three employees maintain the equivalent of 16 acres of facilities. School districts of similar size have many more maintenance employees, she said.
The board approved the request.
Board member Cindy Luttrell commented on the numerous maintenance items.
"This is truly the first time we are not just putting a Band-Aid on the situation. I am proud that we are trying to really take care of the buildings for which we are responsible."
The board approved the purchase of 80 new computers for the high school business labs and Greeneville Middle School student lab.
Miller said the current computers are extremely outdated and in need of replacement "in order to facilitate teaching and learning at both schools."
The 80 computer systems with new Dell systems will be purchased from Technology Express through a Tennessee shared contract with Warren County Schools.
Purchasing through the existing shared contract will save the school $7,000, Miller said. The total cost, which is included in the capital funds, is $60,880. The computers will be provided with eight gigobytes of RAM, the maximum memory possible for them.
The board approved the addition of 14 new Focus classes at the high school which will meet Tennessee Diploma Project mandates.
The Focus classes would allow students, with parental consent, to "opt-out" of two credits of the same foreign language and one credit of fine art and replace those credits with additional credits from among the Focus classes.
The approved Focus classes are the following: keyboarding, document formatting, career management success, ACT prep math, content area reading, content area reading (math), ACT prep English, computer applications, word processing, advanced computer applications, spreadsheet applications, contemporary issues, desktop publishing, and computer literacy.
BOARD POLICY REVISION
The board approved on first reading a policy revision that would now allow board members to participate in board meetings via electronic means under certain conditions.
There would be three circumstances that permit such participation: military service, family emergency, and a work-related absence from the county.
Board Chairman Craig Ogle requested that grandchildren of board members be added to the wording of the revised policy listing sick family members which would qualify as a family emergency.
The policy stipulates that the electronic means must include visual communication, such as Skype or FaceTime.