School board gets first look at plans for construction
By Karen Hall
School board members got their first look at the plans for the new intermediate school in Chapel Hill and the additions to the Lewisburg elementary schools when they held their first meeting of the year on Monday night.
The joy in seeing their building program a step closer to reality was tempered by a sobering report on the roofs of the schools, presented by Kevin Turner of Stephen Ward & Associates Inc.
Turner said he had personally walked the roofs of all the schools in Marshall County, and on a scale of one to 10, with one the best, he rated them at about an eight. Every roof is different, and each roof has sections in different states of disrepair.
"There's been no major work on those roofs for 15-plus years," he exclaimed.
Turner had prepared 10 copies of a detailed report that fills a two-inch binder, but at the meeting he handed out a summary of a replacement and repair plan for the roofs that stretches 20 years into the future.
For this year, $549,000 needs to be spent on replacing parts of the roofs at Central Office, Cornersville and Forrest High Schools, and Marshall Elementary. These are the places in "dire need," which show damage and major leaks. Other roofs need $177,000 worth of repair and maintenance, so the total for the fiscal year 2014-2015 is $726,000, and this number does not include the company's 8 percent fee.
Turner told school board members if they did nothing, they would face a roofing bill of $1.5 million in 2020.
"I work with 50 school boards," he said, reassuring them as to his experience and qualifications. "With such neglect, there's a lot of work to be done on O and M" (operations and maintenance).
"So was Hydrostop a waste of time?" asked Chairman Mike Keny, referring to the coating that has been put on some of the roofs by the maintenance department.
"That product is more of a maintenance item," said Turner. "It's not for use the way you've used it. We're not convinced it has a long-term track record.
"It's not my intent to say you've messed up," he added. "Through O and M we'll make them last 10 years; we'll live with it and make it work."
School board members will study the full report, and the maintenance committee is scheduled to meet at 5 p.m. Jan. 27 to discuss it, with Turner returning for that meeting.
"It's kind of scary," said Keny.
Moving on to an update on the building program, board members heard teachers could be moving into the additions to Lewisburg elementary schools by a year from now (January 2015) and the new Chapel Hill intermediate school by July 2015.
Rick Daughrity explained that the site for the Chapel Hill school has been moved closer to the road, saving "a ton of money" on utilities and pavement. The plot of land is large, he said, but has many sink holes, so moving the school closer to the road avoids those as well. The driveway that currently leads to Chapel Hill Elementary will be re-worked to serve both schools, with a left turn across the median to access the new intermediate school. An additional crossing guard will be needed at that point, but that's still only one guard per school, as board member Donnie Moses pointed out.
The new school will have a sloped roof, and geothermal heating and cooling, but will otherwise be similar in plan to Oak Grove.
"We're going to do a really good roof for you," promised Jim Bailey.
In other business, Dr. Denise Werner made a presentation on the Read-Run-Repay program, including returning the perpetual trophy to Cornersville Elementary principal Cheryl Ewing.
"The kids will be glad to get the trophy back," exclaimed Ewing.