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School Board settles on plan for Asbury

AMANDA SEBASTIANO
Staff Writer

Renovations, from a school building to football stadium bleachers, were among the topics discussed at the Lincoln County Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, as school board members unanimously agreed to move forward on the Asbury Alternative School project and saw the progress being made at Lincolnton High.
What to do about the mobile units and lack of resources available on-site for Asbury students, was first discussed last month at the Board of Education Building and Site committee meeting. Committee member Clayton Mullis originally voted against moving forward and spending what was then estimated to be about $1.5 million of the $2.4 million allotted for the school’s projects. Mullis explained he wanted to wait and see if the school improved before spending that amount of money and was the sole dissenting vote against progressing with the plans.
However, committee member Ed Hatley and committee chair Tommy Houser were in favor and the motion carried to present it to the board this month.
This week, though, Mullis decided to vote in favor of spending the now-estimated $1.9 million, though he mentioned he still thinks the board may be moving too quickly on the issue.
A 2007-grant set aside specific monies for the Asbury Alternative changes, and will likely be used in full after multi-purpose, Exceptional Children and science lab rooms are added, and a 14,000-square-foot building is constructed to replace portable units that currently sit behind the building.
The estimated $500,000-difference will be used for other projects at the school that need work, such as parking lot maintenance and makeovers of existing classrooms.
School board member Bob Silver wanted to be filled in on the situation before voting, as he was not at last month’s session where Superintendent Sherry Hoyle first presented her findings that resulted from meetings with focus groups recently.
“Will we be able to tweak the blue print once you’ve put it together?” Silver asked Darrell Gettys, executive director of facilities. “And will we have a few options to look over, or just one?”
Yes and one.
Gettys answered that one blue print will be put together that incorporates elements the committee and school board members agreed upon, which he will have for school officials to view at next week’s Building and Site committee meeting.
The board unanimously approved to continue on to the next phase of the process where more exact numbers will be presented and specifics of what the school will look like.
The revamp discussions continued, as Gettys followed with an update on the on-going construction projects in area schools later in the night, including the handrail addition to the visitor side bleachers at Lincolnton High. The steps were rebuilt and made larger to support and have space for a handrail to be used as a guide down the center stairs, along with new railings along the edge of the bleachers for game attendees.
Other items of interest:
Gettys mentioned possibly building an additional parking area on the north side of the stadium.
The Policy committee recommended the board approve the state change of adding Measurement of Student Learning (MSLs) tests to the non-exempt list of exams students must take, along with the End of Course (EOC) tests. The school board unanimously voted to adopt the change, which will be effective across the state and will remain open for 25 days for public input.
Gettys recognized seven schools that cut back on energy and water from February to June, with an incentive of sharing the savings. Jack D. Kiser Intermediate School was awarded about $1,700 for their efforts.
A presentation was led by East Lincoln High teacher Tiffany Cavicchia and two of her students, as they described a new organization to award students based on academic merit and designed to boost school spirit.
All four committees will be meeting at 6 p.m.,on Monday, in the following order : Building and Site, Curriculum, Budget and Finance, and Policy.

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