Last updated: July 18. 2013 11:08PM - 420 Views
Bailey Richards
Staff Reporter

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HAZARD — An issue with the roof at Hazard Independent Schools’ elementary facility will likely cause further delay as construction continues at two of the district’s schools.

Construction on Roy G. Eversole Elementary and Hazard Middle School, formerly known as Walkertown Elementary, began shortly after school began in the fall. In the early stages of construction, some issues were found by the contractor that needed to be addressed before the work can continue at Roy G. Eversole.

According to Architect Joseph Clark, through removing windows in the school workers found water-damaged wood stemming from problems with the roof. “They found a fairly significant amount of water damage to the wood blocking that holds the existing gutters up, and will continue to hold the new gutters up,” Clark explained.

This roof was put on the building in 1997 and remains under warranty until august 2013, however, the company that installed it closed within just a few years of completing the work.

“There are leaks, holes, and tears in numerous locations,” Clark said. “The roof has pretty much met its life expectancy.”

The issues with the roof have put a hold on any further construction at the school, and since the board may have to replace the roof, that may undo some work that was done until now. “The problem we are running into is that the contractor does not have sound wood blocking to attach his work to,” Clark added.

Clark said that they have two options: make as many repairs to the roof as possible now and replace it in a few years, or put the new roof on now, which would be an unexpected cost the board would have to absorb. Board Chairman Grady Varney said that once they found out the pricing for these two options they would meet as quickly as possible to get the work started back at the school.

Stacey Johnson with the University of Kentucky Center for Rural Health attended the meeting to discuss possibly bringing health services to the schools on a regular basis in an effort to improve attendance. Johnson said that she has been working with district nurse Sally Spaulding on a plan and schedule to best help the students and faculty.

“Basically [we would be] targeting kids that don’t have transportation to get health services,” said Stacey. “We would obviously open this up to everyone, but that would be our target population.”

Stacey and two residents of the UK center for Rural Health would come to Roy G. Eversole and Hazard Middle School twice a month for half a day. They would offer physicals, screenings, strep and flu tests, and general health examinations.

Information packets containing insurance information and types of medical care offered would be sent out to parents and teachers. A similar program is currently being offered in Letcher County through The Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation.

MCHC also gave a proposal for a similar program to begin in Perry County Schools on Thursday during their board meeting.

The Hazard Independent School Board voted to proceed with the formulating on a contract with UK Rural Health to begin health services.

Hazard Independent Schools has also been working with TVS Cable on starting a local TV station with news, sports, events, and programs all dedicated to Bulldog students and schools. Jonathan Jones, the network administrator for Hazard Independent, said that students and faculty will be involved in this process and the channel will broadcast 24 hours a day.

Also on the agenda was approving the purchase of a new school bus for the district. In the last meeting the school board voted to surplus a bus that no longer met safety standards and would be fiscally irresponsible to repair. This new bus would replace that vehicle and give the district another bus with air conditioning and a wheel chair ramp.

Unfortunately, however, the cost for purchasing buses continues to increase. “I looked back to 2010, and the average price increase on a school bus has gone up $30,000 in two years,” noted Superintendent Sandra Johnson.

This bus can be financed through the Kentucky Interlocal School Transportation Association. However, any additions such as air conditioning would all have to be paid up front by the school district. “The base price of that bus is $87,333, that is just the bus and that is the portion that we are allowed to finance through KISTA,” Johnson added.

After adding air conditioning, a plug-in for a GPS, taking out a second handicap space and replacing it with two seats, and adding a public announcement system, the bus costs $98,330. The district will have to pay the difference of $10,997.

The board also approved a contract with Consulting Services Incorporated out of Lexington to conduct all of the structural testing at the schools required by law for the renovations at Roy G. Eversole and Hazard Middle School. This contract had been tabled at the last meeting due to a line in the contract stating that they would not assume liability in the case of a situation like a gas line break as a result of testing. The contract was renegotiated and that clause was removed.

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