New school notes: entrance to get second look

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Reps hopeful of meeting project finish date

By Brandon Mattingly

Representatives from Alliance Corporation and Zerhusen Holten Commissioning were on hand at last week’s monthly school board meeting to answer questions and address any concerns of district officials regarding the construction of the new Washington County High School.

One area that the board has been keeping an eye on is the entrance to the school on US 150. In the process of trying to accommodate a state-owned right of way near the entrance, many involved with the project feel the entrance ended up with a sight line that is dangerously low. Joe Salsman of Alliance informed the board that paving will begin once the asphalt plant re-opens and that the high school project is expected to be among the first to be serviced. Board member Pat Clements said the district would like to use the time between now and then to address the entrance following a recent conversation with Sen. Tom Buford, who offered assistance in allowing the project to disturb more of the right of way.

“Since paving is some ways off, we for sure want to get that going,” Clements said. “We were just told Thursday that he would help us, so we want to see if we can get some leeway on that. We think just a little bit of material there would raise the sight lines a good bit.”

Clements cited a growing number of commuters making the switch to small, fuel-efficient vehicles as one of concerns with the entrance in its current state.

Salsman said sidewalk and concrete curb crews will be arriving on the site soon, but that curbing in the area of the entrance will be put on hold.

Another point of debate has been the decision of when to start running heat pumps to dry out portions of the building to be able to move forward with other areas of construction, like the laying of the gym floor.

Some close to the project are weary of starting the equipment while there is still a high amount of dust in the air and feel that the pumps would be at risk if they’re running while construction is in progress.

“As an advocate for the owner, I’m going to be telling these guys, ‘I don’t like the dust and I don’t like the debris,’ and Joe’s going to say, ‘well, I’ve got to get the gym floor down and we’ve got to progress,’ said Chris Zerhusen of ZH Commissioning. “We just all need to understand there’s a balance. There definitely is a balance, but that’s why you’ve got me here, that’s why you’ve got David here and that’s why you’ve got Joe here.”

The suggestion arose to run the pumps after hours, which the reps agreed was something to consider.

Salsman said the clean-up effort has been in full swing in hopes of getting the building in position to run the pumps.

“We do have two full-time employees right now doing nothing but clean-up,” he said. “We’re spending a lot of energy and using a lot of sweeping compound to keep down the dust.”

The updated finish date of the project as of last month’s meeting was May 13. Clements inquired if the district would be able to move into the school at the time they’re expecting.

“We’re giving it our college try to get that done,” Salsman said. “Right now, as you know, we’ve got a lot of balls in the air that we’re working on. Do I think it’s doable? Yes, I think it is. We just need to stay on task and get the work done.”

New key system
Superintendent Robin Cochran was pleased to share information about the keycard system that will be used at the new high school, as it will help alleviate problems the district has seen with keycards in the past.

“One feature that I’m excited about and that I think Mr. (Paul) Terrell’s teachers will be excited about is that from the inside of any room, any teacher that’s in that room will have a key that will allow them to lock the door from the inside,” she said.

“If someone is sharing a classroom and there’s a lockdown, they’ll have a key that will lock that room down,” Cochran added. “We learned that at North the hard way, when you had to call a custodian or step out into the hallway and wait for somebody to come that had the key.”

Thermostat mix up

Cochran also shared concerns over the thermostats that were recently installed on the walls of the new high school, as they don’t match the requirements in the design specs. The school was to receive digital thermostat units, but slide units were installed instead.

“Innerspace had said they were hoping we would accept it as such, but we won’t accept it as such,” she said. “That’s what we just did as a project at North Washington, was spend money to go from the slides to digital.”

Zerhusen agreed to pass on the concerns at a meeting with company reps last week.

Other board notes

• KET paid a visit to WCES, WCMS and NWS recently to shoot a video relating to the Positive Behavior and Instructional Support System. The video will be used for restraint and seclusion training, which will be mandatory across Kentucky next year.

• A bus conflict has come up with the scheduling of trip to Florida for the high school baseball and softball teams, as both teams are scheduled to play one of their games at the same time. With the baseball team a 45-minute drive from their game and softball only seven miles from their field, the board agreed to allow softball parents to transport their children to the game in question—it was noted that over half of the softball parents are expected to make the trip.

Also, Cochran said it is typical for the district to require a certified administrator to be present on trips and requested that Chuck Abell, assistant superintendent in Spencer County, be approved to fill that role. The board unanimously agreed to approve the request.

• Regina Hood, food service director, requested and was granted permission to increase students’ meal credit limit from $5 or $10—depending on grade—to $20. Hood said it costs a student between $15 and $20 to eat breakfast and lunch for a week and that they should at least be allotted that amount.

“I don’t think we should punish a child if a family is having problems for a week,” Hood said.

She also expressed that there is not much concern over unpaid debts, as all charges have been collected from seniors during her time as director.
Hood also asked for the implementation of a $10 charge limit for faculty, as opposed to the current no-charge policy. Hood pointed out that the staff “is human” and forgets their money from time to time as well.

All board members were in attendance. The next school board meeting will be held on Monday, April 21 at central office.