Elementary safe rooms on schedule; completion estimated for May

Members of the Conway Board of Education heard updates regarding summer maintenance and construction projects going on within the district during its regular meeting on Tuesday.

 

Assistant Superintendent Carroll Bishop said the construction has started at the first four elementary schools including Marguerite Vann, Theodore Jones, Julia Lee Moore and Florence Mattison.

“Those are the four we are actually working on right this second,” he said.

Work on the next group — Ellen Smith, Carolyn Lewis, Jim Stone and Woodrow Cummins — should begin in about two weeks.

All eight, Bishop said, should be completed by May 2018.

“This finishes all elementary schools,” he said. “Now, there are plans to pursue a possibility, that hasn’t been complete or voted on or anything, it’s all about funds available, but we are looking at doing a safe room at Carl Stuart [Middle School] and Bob [and Betty] Courtway Middle School.”

If those projects get completed, every school — with the exception of the junior high and high school which have their own safe areas — would have a safe room available for students, faculty and staff and the community after hours and on the weekends.

Because safe rooms will be located outside at either the back or side of the schools, Bishop said the upcoming school year will not be affected by the construction and the crew.

While all new additions will look remotely the same, Marguerite Vann, he said, will be the only one that is different.

“It’s going to be a good bit bigger than the other [ones] because it’s going to be a cafeteria … instead of a [physical education] facility,” Bishop said. “We’re trying to do two things here. We’re trying to have a nicer, bigger cafeteria and we’re also trying to still have a safe room.”

Bishop told the board “the bottom line is everything is going well.”

The project will cost a little more than $9.8 million.

During the June regular meeting, the board approved a resolution to authorize the issuance and delivery of $10 million in construction bonds and also approved the guaranteed maximum cost for the project from Nabholz Construction for the safe rooms.

Bishop also updated the board on the summer demolotion project for Marguerite Vann.

He said crews started taking down whiteboards, removing old furniture and demolishing cabinets the day after school let out.

Currently, Bishop said, the whole inside and outside of the building has been painted, new light fixtures, security cameras and fire alarm system have been installed, new flooring has gone in, the restrooms are like brand new and more storage space has been added along with a few other things.

Marguerite Vann makes the fourth school that the district has remodeled and updated.

During the meeting, high school principal Jason Lawrence also introduced two new additions to the 2017-18 CHS staff: Assistant Principals Lourdes Goodnight and Jacob Smith.

The board also:

• Approved three petitions for student transfers from Vilonia School District to Conway.

• Approved three district resignations and 14 new hires.

 

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