Board approves 1st phase of school
HUNTINGTON -- An anticipated project in Cabell County that has been off to a slow start got a big green light from the Board of Education Tuesday evening.
During its regular meeting at the Cabell County Schools central office, the board approved the first phase of construction on the former Beverly Hills Middle School, which will become a yet-to-be-named Expeditionary Learning school that is set to open during the 2015-16 school year.
The board also approved a measure to hire two additional student resource officers to serve middle and elementary schools in the county.
During a 30-minute discussion and presentation, the board learned the first phase of the renovation of the Beverly Hills facility will cost approximately $799,887.
A presentation from Mike O'Dell, assistant superintendent of operations, provided the first glimpse of the layout of the new school.
The first phase of construction includes abatement of asbestos tile throughout the school and interior restructuring that includes opening and connecting hallways in the school, eliminating concrete bleachers and locker rooms from the gymnasium and removing drop ceilings from the classrooms, O'Dell said.
When the school is open, pre-K and kindergarten students will have classes on the first floor of the school, and first through fifth grade and special education classes will be on the second floor.
Only one company, Atlantic Plant Services, bid on the measure, and the entirety of the funding for this project will come from county funds, O'Dell said.
The funding of the project was a point of interest for board member Karen Nance, who said during the public meeting that she felt the county funds had to be supported or tied in with state funds, although she acknowledged she had been advised by the county's attorney this was not the case.
The board later went into executive session to discuss the matter further after board President Suzanne Oxley, who was teleconferenced into the meeting, pointed out the discussion was treading into attorney-client privilege.
When the board emerged from a half-hour executive session, it voted to approve the matter, with the directive that Superintendent Bill Smith initiate the process of Section 106, which is in reference to a portion of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.
Section 106 requires the consideration of historic preservation in projects with federal involvement, according to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. A Section 106 review encourages, but does not mandate, preservation, according to the council.
The state of West Virginia later adopted this act, O'Dell said, but he said that Section 106 would be unlikely to affect what can be done to the property.
O'Dell said this phase of construction will take about 90 days, and the second phase of construction, which includes exterior work on the building and its surrounding lot, would take about a year.
He said construction will start as soon as possible.
The board has yet to consider the exterior phase of construction, but O'Dell said it could take place at the same time as the interior phase of construction.
At the meeting, O'Dell said he expected the construction to be completed by November 2015.
In other business, the board approved a contract with the Cabell County Sheriff's Department to supply two additional deputies as student resource officers to the school system, bringing the total number of officers in the district to four.
Three of those officers are deputies with the sheriff's department, and the fourth is a Huntington Police officer, who is stationed at Huntington High School.
Under the contract, the department will supply the deputies with the board paying an hourly rate of $25.52, or about $37,000 per year, per deputy.
The deputies will work in collaboration with the officer at Cabell Midland High School, and they each will be assigned to two Cabell County middle schools. There are four middle schools in the county.
The deputies also will be assigned to the elementary schools that feed into their respective middle schools.
Other measures approved during the meeting included:
An interagency agreement between the school system and Expeditionary Learning not to exceed $221,900. Under the contract, Expeditionary Learning will provide a package of services to faculty and school leaders that will foster full implementation of Cabell County's Expeditionary Learning School. The package includes professional development and technical assistance.
A contract with Reasoning Mind, Inc., that would provide online interactive math instruction for students in grades 2-5 at select schools. The contract is worth $256,000.
A contract with Republic Services to continue trash removal services at the cost of $137,000 for the 2014-15 school year.
A contract with nCompass Networks, Inc. to be the technology department's preferred vendor for the 2014-15 school year. This will allow all departments to purchase technology equipment without having to repeat the bidding process. To establish a preferred vendor, sealed bids were solicited on the technology items most purchased by the school system. nCompass Networks bid $294,000.
The purchase of 20 mobile laptop labs from the preferred technology vendor contract. The cost is $377,000.
Follow Reporter Lacie Pierson on Twitter, @LaciePiersonHD.
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