The Greeneville City Board of Education approved the first part of an involved HVAC unit replacement project for Greeneville High School during its meeting Tuesday evening.

Beverly Miller, assistant director for administration, said the replacement is urgently needed because there is currently only one compressor working in the high school gym since a second compressor stopped working in February.

“This is, in my opinion, an emergency situation,” Miller said.

Heating and cooling for the gym have been provided by two 25-ton water source heat pumps that are original to the building and have been repaired multiple times over the past eight years. Both units will be replaced.

Miller said the design of the building complicates the project because it does not currently provide access to the units.

“It will involve a crane. We’ll have to remove a portion of the roof. The work will have to be done from overhead,” Miller told the board. “Part of the work will include the inclusion of access so that for future work or replacement on the units, we’ll be able to do that easily, which is very critical. We need to do that anyway.”

Miller said a request for proposal (RFP) is currently out for the labor, but the rising cost of materials including steel and extensive lead times on units and parts make it urgent to approve the purchase of the units. She said it could take until August for the units to be delivered.

The board approved $30,566 in capital funds to purchase two HVAC units through a Sourcewell contract with Carrier Corporation.

The board also approved a consulting contract with Battelle for Kids to develop a “Portrait of a Graduate,” which will be a visual representation of the skills and traits students need to develop in school to succeed after high school.

“A Portrait of a Graduate will give us a clear picture of what tools and resources students need to be successful in life, and it will include student voice and choice as students will be a part of the development team,” Assistant Director for Instruction Dr. Suzanne Bryant said.

Bryant said families and community members, as well as teachers and district staff, will also be invited to participate.

The board approved $24,800 from existing professional development funds for the contract for the work, which is set to begin in April and be completed by September.

The board also approved a purchase of textbooks and continuation of the tuition-free program at Highland Elementary School, through which students living outside of the city limits can attend the school tuition free if they meet criteria including attendance, behavior and academic progress.

The English Language Arts textbooks, including print and digital materials, will be purchased for students in grades six-10 though the second round of CARES Act Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding in the amount of $152,777.

Bryant said a new textbook law will require the district to purchase and implement state-adopted materials.

The board also recognized several Greeneville High School seniors who scored 30 or higher on the ACT and the district’s teachers of the year and heard a report from Greeneville High School Principal Martin McDonald as well as from Starnes.

In his report Starnes announced that the district has been allocated $4.5 million in a third round of ESSER funds through the American Rescue Plan Act. He said the state is expected to release applications soon, as those will be due in May.

Starnes also announced that $7,603 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster relief has been approved for the district for cleaning supplies. He said an application for $48,357 was submitted in June, but that FEMA is not approving funding for certain areas that are covered through ESSER.

Starnes also announced that the district’s book bus will be in operation this summer.