Hawkins BOE OKs upgrades for ball fields

Jeff Bobo • May 3, 2013 at 11:17 AM

ROGERSVILLE — With baseball and softball seasons right around the corner, the Hawkins County Board of Education agreed Thursday to take a big chunk of $50,000 set aside for sports facility improvements to address fields at two schools.

Last month the BOE voted to create a new sports facility capital outlay budget line item and set aside $50,000 per year for those projects.

The BOE’s Athletic Committee met two weeks ago and came up with six recommendations totaling an estimated $38,900.

A seventh request was made for Cherokee High School’s softball facilities after the Athletic Committee’s meeting.

The BOE agreed Thursday to defer that request until CHS staff returns to the Athletic Committee with detailed cost figures.

The CHS softball field requests included finishing the concession stand, finishing the locker room, constructing a hitting and pitching area, upgrading the press box, and purchasing field maintenance items.

The preliminary cost estimate for those projects is $11,000 which would put the BOE just shy of the $50,000 spending cap.

Among the projects approved by the BOE Thursday were improvements at Volunteer High School’s baseball field including replacing the backstop, dugout repair, and field maintenance. Those projects were estimated at $18,500.

The VHS softball field was approved for a new backstop pad estimated at $900.

Another $4,500 was allocated to connect restrooms at the baseball and softball fields to the sewer system.

Fence repairs were approved for Rogersville Middle School’s baseball and softball fields at an estimated cost of $6,000 each for a total of $12,000.

Another $3,000 was allocated to repair and paint the RMS track.

In other business Thursday the BOE:

•Approved changes to the school calendar to be enacted if the system exceeds the 10 banked snow days.

Director of Schools Charlotte Britton told the BOE that the system has already used eight of its 10 snow days. Another five days were added by the BOE at Britton’s request, to be used only if needed.

Those new dates include, in the order they will be used: an April 1 staff development day; the Feb. 18 President’s Day holiday; and the three days following the last day of school, which is Tuesday, May 21.

Britton said if additional days aren’t needed the calendar will not change.

•Approved a roof replacement project at Church Hill Middle School estimated to cost $127,000. The project will be paid mostly with $109,000 in left over Qualified School Construction Bond (QSCB) zero percent interest loan funds from 2010. The balance will be paid from the undesignated fund balance.

Maintenance director Bill Shedden told the BOE that Hawkins Elementary School and Keplar School will both need new roofs this year as well, with those projects estimated to cost $615,000 and $194,000 respectively.

Shedden recommended moving forward with the Church Hill Middle project now because the cost was closest to the amount of leftover QSCB funds, which must be sent by October of the school system will incur a penalty.

•Approved release of sewer easements property to the town of Surgoinsville at Surgoinsville Middle and Surgoinsville Elementary schools for the town’s proposed sewer trunk line installation project. Surgoinsville Alderman Larry Dykes told the BOE the board’s signing over of those easements was needed before the U.S. Department of Agriculture will release grant funding so the project can move forward. Release of the easements was approved unanimously pending the approval of the agreements by County Attorney Jim Phillips.

•Agreed to advertise for bids for five new school buses, with specifications to include costs for both 72-passenger and 78-passenger buses. The specs will also include a laptop computer for viewing bus security video, as well as a laptop for bus maintenance diagnostics.

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