School Board approves funding for a new gym at Forrest

Friday, March 20, 2015

By Ivory Riner

Staff Writer

The school board approved plans for renovations to the Forrest School gymnasium at a specially called meeting Monday night.

"The old gym is in shambles. You can stand in the middle of it and see outside all of the way around where the roof and walls meet," Director of Schools Jackie Abernathy said.

It took several meetings for the board to finally agree on the plans for the $2.650 million project.

Board member Harvey Jones Jr. was not satisfied with what architect Jim Bailey drew out.

"This is not what we agreed on. We were originally supposed to renovate two rooms and add a gym," said Jones.

"This sketch has taken almost half of the space out of the classroom that we had in mind for the first plan."

In regards to complaints, Abernathy said the sketch depicts a 700-square-foot classroom that will take care of the needs of the teacher and students.

Jones wasn't the only one who wasn't impressed with the sketch.

Board member John Daniel Allen doesn't like how the sketch locates the bathrooms inside the school instead of having them attached to the gymnasium. This means a person would have to walk through the school to access the bathrooms from the gymnasium.

If the bathrooms were to be changed so they are accessible from the gymnasium, Bailey said people going in and out tracking things on the gym floor would destroy the wood floor.

In the end, the sketch was approved and Forrest School Principal Davy McClaran couldn't be more grateful that the school board decided to finally fix the outdated gym which has holes in both the floor and ceiling.

"The gym is a facility that has outlived its term. We will get great use out of our new facility and it will definitely be taken care of," said McClaran.

The gymnasium is currently the location for practices and camps. In addition, the new facility will house wrestling tournaments.

Construction is to begin when the 2014-2015 school year is over and the old gym is demolished.

The completion date for the project will be set once Bailey's drawings are finished and a price for the construction has been approved.

Budget meeting

A meeting of the school board's budget committee immediately followed the specially called meeting.

"We're in okay shape this year and definitely don't have to borrow any money," said Budget Director Janet Wiles.

Deputy Director of Schools Jacob Sorrells said he is working to get leaking roofs of schools fixed as soon as possible. He said the roofs on the Marshall County High School and Lewisburg Middle School buildings are in bad condition.

Sorrells also proposed a new supplement schedule that will be based on percentages rather than a normal base rate.

It will be presented to the full board meeting in April.

Abernathy ended the meeting with a proposal to employ a chorus assistant at Marshall County High School.