Piggott Board Approves Concession Stand Plans, New Website
Following months of discussion on the matter, the renovation of the concession stand at Piggott High School's Parker Field was given the go-ahead at Monday night's regular school board meeting. The board members also took part in a video conference on a new website for the district, and agreed to a three year obligation, approved the school calendar for the coming year and following an executive session re-hired the majority of licensed personnel.
With board vice president Bradley Dunlap absent due to illness, the meeting was called to order at the administration building. After dispensing with the usual consent agenda items, they board turned its attention to the various improvement projects currently underway.
Fred Malicoat, of Malicoat-Winslow Engineers, Columbia, Mo., updated the board on the efforts to improve drainage at both campuses, noting. "we're still working on the issue, but we did find the drains on the north side of the elementary school were tied-in with a roof-drainage system, but we've been slowed-down by all the rain," he explained.
He also noted the original plans were incorrect, and added he would be working with the city on resolving some of the issues with the assistance of the district's maintenance staff. Malicoat also indicated he would be gathering more data on how to address the drainage around the new gym, taking into consideration the location of sewer and storm drains in the area.
Malicoat also briefed the board on the bids for replacement of two HVAC units in the PHS middle gym. Low bid on the project was submitted by Buffington Brothers, of Poplar Bluff, at $16,958 while the bid from local contractor D&G Plumbing and Heating was $17,928.
After discussing the particulars, which were comparable, superintendent Charlie Powell offered her recommendation to go with the low bid from Buffington Brothers. The motion to do so was offered by board member Jim Threatt, but failed on a vote of 1-3. The board then voted 4-0 to accept the higher bid from the local company.
Todd Welch, with Brackett-Krennerich Architects, of Jonesboro, next presented the final drawings for the renovation of the concession stand at the football field. In the months since the issue was first broached the plans have changed drastically, with the original involving a complete replacement of the bleachers and concession stand with a nearly $600,000 price tag.
As a compromise, the current concession stand is being remodeled and extended to the north, allowing for the completion of the track project. The effort, which does not expand the restroom facilities, will cost the district somewhere around $55,000. At an earlier meeting the board decided not to expand the bleachers at this time, but are reviewing plans to renovate the press box.
"We may have a few other issues to address, such as the water lines in the area," Welch noted in offering the final draft. "The only other possible expense would be if the health department required you to have a grease trap, but considering the usage it's unlikely."
He also indicated some extra funding was already included in the estimate, and noted he would have the final plans available in about two weeks for submission to the state.
In a related move, the board rescinded Malicoat's fees for the job, and approved the new costs related to the concession stand project. The change reduced the charges to the district from $35,950 to $9,650, for the engineer's work on the job, and the reducation was approved without dissent.
Board members all re-visited an earlier discussion on whether to offer the USDA Summer Feeding Program this year. Low participation, and a deficit of several thousand dollars a year, has plagued the effort in years past, as no-charge meals are offered to local residents under the age of 18.
"We're looking for suggestions," Powell offered. "I talked with Corning and Tuckerman and they have good participation, but they don't do anything differently than we do."
During earlier discussion on the matter the board asked if the program could be shut down during the two week dead period for the district, as opposed to being required to offer it throughout the summer months.
"If you put in the application that it will be closed down for the dead time you can do that," Powell explained. "And we would only offer the meals Monday through Thursdays."
After a brief review of the merits of the program, the board agreed to allow the district to apply once again this year with the stipulations.
Board members then took part in a video-conference presentation by Mark Lienhart of Apptegy, of Little Rock. The company builds and hosts websites, and the related services, and currently serves about 50 districts in the state.
"Based on comments about our current website from staff and parents we felt it was time to look at upgrading," Powell offered.
Lienhart shared a presentation on the company, noting their websites are used by some 200 districts in the U.S. He indicated the prime objective is to engage the community with the district, and touted the ease in which the new site will "push" information and stories to other forms.
"Using "Thrillshare" on our site will allow you to post an item and have it pushed to social media such as facbook, or provide alerts by text or email," he offered. "It's flexible to your needs."
Powell indicated the staff had suggested an updated site, citing problems with finding information on the current platform.
After reviewing the pros and cons of the web hosting firm, the board members thanked Lienhart for his input and ended the conference. Later, they agreed based on Powell's recommendation to contract with the firm for a three year period at a cost of $24,300. Powell noted the contract would not begin until after the current school year, with the new website available to patrons in the fall.
The board also reviewed the proposed school calendars for next year, agreeing to adopt the one preferred by the staff. Personnel Policy Committee members Faith Conley and Karen Coomer were on hand to provide input, noting the staff had voted 108-29 for "Option One."
"This only comes up once-in-awhile," Coomer offered. "But, since Aug. 19, falls on a Saturday this year we can start the school year anytime in that week. Next year it falls on a Sunday and by state law school can't start before Monday, Aug. 20."
The teachers explained the early start would allow the district to have a full week off at Thanksgiving, two weeks and two days at Christmas and the Monday after Easter.
"We had some ask about being off Good Friday, but we will have only been back in school a week after spring break at that point, so opted for Monday," Coomer added.
The calendar calls for the first day for teachers as July 31, with the first day for students on Aug. 14 and the last day on May 24. It was approved on a vote of 4-0.
Based on Powell's recommendation, the board also accepted the low bid from Moser Corporation, of Rogers, Ark., for the purchase of new items for the PHS library renovation.
"We received two bids, one from John R. Green Co. for $41,926.96 and one from Moser Corporation for $40,910," Powell indicated. "We've done business with John R. Green before, but the bid from Moser includes set-up of all the items so I recommend we go with their bid."
The items included in the bid were new shelves for the high school library, along with the circulation desk, tables, chairs and some soft-seating for the impending renovation.
Based on Powell's recommendation, the low bid was accepted.
Board members also heard a report from Powell on the opportunity to share a career coach with Corning through a program by Black River Technical College.
"We have the chance to share a career coach with Corning and we'll only be obligated to pay one fourth of the costs if our grant is approved," Powell offered.
She indicated the career coach would spend equal time in both districts, and would be dealing with high school students.
"The person would be working primarily with ninth through 12th graders, but there may be some interaction with the eighth graders," Powell added. "These days the counselors just don't have the time to do these things, but they'll work with the kids on future plans, ACT prep and scholarship applications and such."
She indicated the local district's obligation would be around $12,000 a year if the grant is approved, and the program is only provided one year at a time. Following a brief discussion the board voted 4-0 to allow the effort to proceed.
During her report to the board, Powell offered congratulations to the PES archery team for qualifying for state, and applauded members of the FFA and PACE for recent accomplishments in competition. She also reported the district is looking into a program to allow students to gain extra credits through volunteer work for next year, and will seek to partner with local businesses and other entities if the effort is approved.
She concluded her update by reporting the current student census as of this week was 872.
Late in the meeting, following an executive session, the board reconvened and voted to re-hire licensed personnel for the coming school year. Without dissent the board voted to offer contracts to those recommended by the campus principals, and Powell, for the coming year.
The list of high school teachers includes--Jo Adams, Danny Baldwin, Jenny Cheng, Faith Conley, Karen Coomer, Stacy Crommie, April Flowers, Cody Lancaster, Amber Harrell, Michael Harrell, Shawn Hearn, Melissa Lamb, Jacob Johnson, Natalie Kennedy, Sandra Little, Jennifer McPherson, Andrea Nanney, Stacey Peters, Alan Rabjohn, Walter Rau, Seth Medlen, Linda Rouse, Alissia Seal, Paul Seegraves, Casey Simpson, Jeri Swann, Jerri Tate, Melissa Turner, Penny Veal, Jennifer Vernon, Lisa Woolery and Jeremy Wortham.
The list of teachers at PES includes--Shelby Beck, Laura Brantley, Hope Ermert, Jenna Stender, Katrina Chadwell, Vanessa Hartwell, Pam Hoggard, Marissa Howell, Amanda Jacques, Nikki Cato, Amy Moore, Jessica Turner, Tammy Gordon, Jenna Mobley, Heather Seegraves, Cassie Knight, Megan Ruhmann, Christy Wortham, Vickie Brown, Tonya Helms, Sherri Wright, Veleda Langley, Amber Murray, Barbara Batey, John Heath, Ellen Meadows, Pam Morgan, Cathy Norred, Penny Toombs, Sue Blair, Jessica Robertson, Gina Brewer, Erica Harris, Raquel Crawford, Heather Tullos and Debbie Dunlap.
In other business the board--
Approved a contract renewal for Brett Kingrey as facilities manager for one year at a cost of $10,000.
Passed a resolution allowing the district to do business with Burns Floor Covering, with board president Hope Burns recusing herself from the discussion and vote.
Approved a resolution allowing the district to do business with employee Mark Shane Holcomb.
Chose not to revise the district's mission and philosophy statement.
Approved the sale of several items currently stored in the armory building at the upcoming FFA auction.