hazard-herald.com

County BOE discusses land for new schools

Cris Ritchie — Editor

December 20, 2013

HAZARD – The Perry County Board of Education will discuss potential sites for two new schools at an upcoming work session, though its members heard some details about the issue during its regular meeting on Thursday.


Several pieces of property have been evaluated which could be suitable for a new school that will consolidate A.B. Combs and Willard Elementary, and another to replace Chavies Elementary. One parcel of land in the A.B. Combs district is located along the Hal Rogers Parkway, while another is near Coal Harbor. A third, which district Finance Officer Jody Maggard said is promising, lies at Miss Edna Lane near the New Beginnings daycare.


The latter property includes roughly 12 acres, and also provides access to a road and utilities, both of which can lower the cost of construction.


“That’s one of the reasons why (Miss) Edna Lane is attractive to us, just because of the site,” Maggard said.


Despite access, site development there will likely include a hefty price tag, added Melinda Joseph-Dezarn, an architect with the firm Ross Tarrant, which designed the new East Perry Elementary. The 12-acre site rests on a fill, which will have to be stabilized before any sort of construction can begin. Joseph-Dezarn noted a site-development cost of just over $1.1 million.


Finding a site in the local district that is suitable and does not include fill from a former surface mine may be easier said than done, she added. The East Perry site, for instance, was developed on a former mine site.


“A lot of the sites that we looked at for Chavies, they are fill, they are the same thing,” she said.


As of yet there has been no decision on either of the properties, but when the board begins to seriously consider which property to pursue, Joseph-Dezarn added, members should take into account the total cost of developing the property.


“You don’t want to spend any more than you have to (on site acquisition), so you’ll have all the money to do the project, essentially,” she said, adding the Kentucky Department of Education will also look closely at development costs when considering approval of the land.


The board will have an upcoming work session following the beginning of the new year, at which time Maggard said a more lengthy discussion can be had and the board can begin to whittle down its choices.


In other business, the board approved a request to contract with Tech East Computers of Hazard to repair tablets assigned to students as part its Bring Your Own Device initiative. Mike Smith, the district’s technology coordinator, is currently implementing the program in several schools, which allows students to use tablet computers as part of their every-day school work.


As will inevitable with such a program, Smith said some of the tablets will need to be repaired as students accidentally drop or damage them. He requested the board contract with Tech East for a price of $180 per tablet, which will cover replacing the screen and other components which are routinely damaged when dropped. He noted the fee will only be paid to Tech East on an as-needed basis.


“We’ll use this is we have to, but it just gives us a contract,” he said.