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Alabama Building Commission approves Tharptown renovation project

Franklin County Schools officials received good news on the proposed Tharptown School cafeteria renovation, while the situation remains uncertain as to another project at Vina High School.

Alabama Building Commission officials gave the green light for Franklin County Schools to move forward with the cafeteria renovation project at Tharptown that will convert the existing cafeteria into four elementary classrooms.

The project appeared dead just a few weeks ago after the building commission stated that in order to build the classrooms, the cafeteria would have to be converted into a safety shelter. That cost would have grounded the project.

Now, the school will get its four classrooms as well as a new cafeteria to be shared between the elementary and high schools. Additionally, through a $1.4 million leverage bond, another six-classroom facility will be constructed that will meet the parameters for a safety shelter, giving TES 10 new much-needed classrooms and a new cafeteria, as well as a tornado room that will fit the entire elementary school enrollment.

The additional monies mean the system will not receive funds for any other capital projects in 2018, but the six new classrooms should signal the end of the mobile units that have been in use at Tharptown this year.

As for the damaged band hall and science lab, state insurance officials with Risk Management continue to maintain the building, which was damaged earlier this year during a tornado, can be repaired. Engineers for the school system believe the building has structural damage and can't be repaired.

“We have agreed to disagree but we're still talking. We'll meet with Risk Management within the next two weeks and a temporary building will be coming in by next Friday,” Franklin County Superintendent of Education Greg Hamilton said.

If the parties cannot come together on a decision soon, the start of the 2017 school year at Vina will come without a new building because of the time needed for the bid process and construction.

Hamilton updated the Franklin County Board of Education about the two projects at Tuesday's board meeting. In other action, the board:

--approved a four-day work week for personnel on 10, 11 and 12-month contracts for the summer months by a vote of 3-2.

--approved summer school for 2017 to be held at Tharptown and Belgreen Schools from June 5-30. Fees will be $200 per half credit and $400 per whole credit for in system and $250 per half credit and $450 per whole credit for out of system students.

--awarded the bid for Wireless Access Points to CDW-G as lowest responsible bidder at the bid price of $76,048. The project is funded 85 percent federally and 15 percent through the state, resulting in no cost to the county.

--approved physical therapy services with Jenny L. McCullar ($50 per regular visit made to each student, $100 per initial evaluation per student, $.535 per mile for physical therapy services). Two year agreement thru 2019.

--approved contract with Stepping Stone  Pediatric Therapy, Inc., for occupational therapy services for a two-year period at a rate of $100 per evaluation and $70 per hour of direct therapy service.

--approved Interagency Agreement for Providing Mental Health Services between Franklin County Schools and Riverbend Center for Mental Health for a one-year period.

--approved a number of personnel moves, including:

Retirement: Sherry Smith, teacher EFJH; Suzanne White, teacher RB; Janet Roberts, speech therapist; Darren Welborn, business education teacher, PCHS; Brenda Cardenas, CNP worker, RBHS; Mary Ellen Thompson, bus driver, Tharptown; Neal Tompkins, bus mechanic; Karen Blevins, nurse Vina; Debra Spillers, gifted specialist and Mitzie Posey, general science teacher, PCHS;

Resignation: Jessica Hawkins, math teacher Vina and David Bailey, band director, PCHS.

Resignation in Supplement: Luke Childers, head football coach, Vina.

Employment: Sonya Marks, head varsity and junior varsity girls basketball coach at Red Bay High School; Greg Oliver, maintenance worker.

Employment in Supplement: Tonya Bostick, head cheerleader coach at PCHS; Whitney Hutcheson, head junior cheerleader coach at PCHS; Shannon Benford, varsity boys basketball coach Tharptown and Tanna Benford, varsity girls basketball coach Tharptown.

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