NEWBERRY — The Newberry County School District is moving forward with plans to build a new district administration building next to the Newberry County Career Center.
Following executive session during Monday’s board meeting, Jim Suber, assistant superintendent for operations, asked “the board to move forward with the purchase of the 1.7 acres adjacent to the career center in addition to the (less than two) acres already owned by the district” for the district building.
All the board members except Hugh Gray were in favor of the move. Gray has opposed building a new district building from the beginning and has suggested renovating the current building.
Also following executive session, the board voted unanimously to give a one lump sum bonus to eligible employees within the district.
When the public forum was opened, Newberry resident Laura Dukes stepped up to the microphone.
“In light of the executive session action, I would like you to consider increasing the minuscule compensation to board members so that we may retain and recruit well qualified board members,” Dukes said.
As far as the new district building goes, Dukes asked the board to “please review the floor plans and do not duplicate space that is already present (in schools or other school district property).”
Dukes had spoken in opposition at the August school board meeting to the new district building being considered outside the downtown area. District 40 Rep. Walt McLeod also spoke in opposition to the building at the September board meeting.
The new district building will be located on property next to the career center on S.C. 219/Main Street and will cost $3 million to $3.5 million to build.
The project is part of a $77 million building renovation plan that dates back more than half a decade. The board has been deliberating on the district building decision since February.
In other business:
– Suber gave an update on the construction currently ongoing at Newberry High School. He said the Phase I completion date has been moved to Oct. 30. Several inspections are planned for the science wing, 100 section and the overhead of the 200 wing. One inspection is actually set for Wednesday.
“Furniture has been purchased, but is being held in Sumter with delivery set for Oct. 31 or Nov. 1,” Suber said, explaining that the inspections need to be complete before the furniture arrives. The mini theater’s duct work insulation is in and storefront glass has been installed, Suber said.
Other schools that have been remodeled are Little Mountain and Newberry Elementary.
– Newberry High Principal Katrina Singletary updated the board about a school improvement grant awarded to the high school a year ago.
The high school is on its second year which is also Singletary’s second year as principal. The grant helped with construction.
On a positive note, Singletary said, “Newberry High School received a Category One which means that we are on target and have met or are on track to meet the goals implemented (for the grant’s requirements). Some federal representatives came and observed classrooms and interviewed students, parents, teachers and it’s not official but it was a successful visit.”
– Superintendent Bennie Bennett said the district had a good report from the auditors.