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Dobyns-Bennett expansion to be fully utilized on first day of school, officials say

Rick Wagner • Jul 24, 2019 at 9:10 AM

KINGSPORT — Dobyns-Bennett High School’s new Regional Science and Technology Center, also the new “front door” for the school, should be fully occupied by students, faculty and staff on the first day of school Aug. 5, Superintendent of Schools Jeff Moorhouse told the Board of Education at its work session Tuesday.

A caveat, Moorhouse said, is that school officials will meet Wednesday with the contractor, BurWil Construction Inc., for an update on the $20 million-plus project that could include new information about the flash floods that hit the D-B campus and other sections of Kingsport Monday afternoon. However, Moorhouse and Assistant Superintendent of Administration Andy True said the downpour and flooding affected many city schools.

“We will be able to put kids in there,” Moorhouse said near the end of the work session.

Moorhouse explained that the contractor will keep workers at the site into September to finish mostly exterior items such as landscaping and the new roundabout.

“We are still on track to receive our building on Aug. 2.”

Answering a question from board member Eric Hyche, who was out of town but participated via a sound and video hookup, True said the full use of the building is a go for Aug. 5 “as far as we know. We have not been told otherwise.”

In recent weeks, Moorhouse said, the emphasis has been on the inside of the building. However, he said the new roundabout to serve the school will have a “binder coat” by Aug. 5 but that the finish coat of asphalt likely will be delayed until Labor Day weekend, which will allow a three-day time frame for the asphalt to set. He and True said the parking lot for the roughly 2,200-student school will be fully accessible on day one of school.

WHAT ARE OTHER START-OF-SCHOOL ACTIVITIES?

The school system is preparing for the first day of school with bus routes to be published in the Sunday Kingsport Times News as well as new teacher orientation sessions that began Tuesday and will continue through Thursday. In addition, Kingsport City Schools on July 30 will hold a KCS Hall of Fame induction at the end of a convocation for three educators in the 2019 class of inductees: late D-B Latin teacher Grace Elmore in the Legacy Era, late D-B and Sevier Middle band director Jewell Tilson in the Tradition Era, and former D-B Principal Earl Lovelace in the Modern Era.

They will be inducted at the Eastman Employee Center at about 11:30 a.m., followed by a lunch starting at 12:30 p.m. at the Crown Center Room of the Food City on North Eastman Road.

Later that day will be the 10th annual Back to School Expo at the Kingsport Farmers Market from 3-6 p.m. Moorhouse said the event has 87 confirmed vendors. He said individual schools will hold back to school nights Thursday and Friday of that week.

WHAT ELSE?

Tuesday also was the final installment of the the summer’s Superintendent’s Story Time on the KCS Facebook page. Moorhouse said an average of 400 people have been watching the videos of him reading a children’s book in local elementary schools on Tuesdays in June and July.

In other news, he said the school system just learned it was among 96 districts to receive career technical education Carl Perkins reserve grants. The $50,000 grant will go toward equipment and industry certification tests. At the weekend Tennessee School Boards Association meeting in Gatlinburg, BOE President Carrie Upshaw said, KCS officials found out that 11 percent of statewide industry certifications statewide were issued by KCS. 

Instructional design specialists working to help teachers in the school system and three days of new teacher orientation that end Thursday, both discussed Tuesday night at the meeting in presentations to the board, will be the subject of a future Times New article. 

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