NEWBERRY — The new Newberry County School District administrative building project is making progress as a low bid proposal was passed 5 to 1 by the School Board.
Jim Suber, assistant superintendent of operations, presented the bid and said that there were 18 general contractors who bid on the project ranging from over $3 million to over $4 million for a 19,600 square foot building.
The board accepted the bid - with the oppose from board member Hugh Gray - from Greenville company Melloul-Blamey Construction Inc. for $3.855 million which includes the total cost of the building plus a 28-station computer lab. The building itself will cost $3.655 million and the computer lab will cost $200,000.
The company will also perform maintenance work on the Newberry County Career Center’s parking lot and improving the handicap accessibility. The total combined cost for the building, computer lab and career center work will be $4.145 million.
The paving at the career center and the handicap accessibility work and improvements will cost a total of $290,000.
The district opted not to go with the reduction in square footage for the administrative building which would have excluded nine offices out of the building.
With this project, the district will have one company for several projects.
Before Suber presented the proposal, a public forum was held in which Laura Dukes spoke out against the new district administration building. She has spoken against the project before.
Dukes said that she was not in favor of this and expressed concern with how the district can build with the remaining NICE funds. She also expressed concern over the high millage rates in the state.
Dukes was the only person to speak at the public forum after the student recognitions take place.
The other action item the board voted on was the 2013-14 school calendar which was approved by all board members.
The board members voted on the second draft of the calendar and only change was moving a professional development day from Feb. 14 to Aug. 12 which would give teachers more planning and preparation before school starts.
While there is a lack of parent-teacher conferences in the fall, teachers are encouraged to have contact with the parents throughout the year and may contact any time.
The calendar is available on the district’s website on the main page towards the bottom at www.newberry.k12.sc.us.
In financial news, the district’s chief financial officer Susan Dowd presented a tentative budget calendar and also gave estimated figures on school resource officers (SROs).
Dowd reported that she has had some preliminary planning on Feb. 19 and Monday and will also meet with the principals March 4-5.
As far as work sessions, Dowd tentatively laid out the following dates: April 15, April 22 (regular school board meeting), May 13, May 20 for first reading, June 3 for a public hearing and June 17 (regular meeting).
If there are any discrepancies, the dates may be adjusted at the next board meeting.
Dowd also brought back information regarding SROs as requested at the last meeting.
She said that on average having a full year SRO would cost around $60,000 and if they were to hire a SRO for the remainder of this year, it would cost on average between $15-20,000.
If the district were to hire a SRO officer for the rest of this year, they would have to dip into the reserve fund.
Chairman Jody Hamm said, “I would like for us to replace the SRO position (lost from last year) and have a floater for campuses including Little Mountain, Pomaria-Garmany and Reuben.”
Hamm was specific with these because they are in municipalities and Prosperity, Whitmire and Newberry all have police departments.
The SRO officer position will be added to the March agenda.
In other news related to education, assistant superintendent for instruction Cynthia Downs presented information on middle school algebra I and changes that would be made because of the Common Core State Standards to be fully implemented next year.
Downs reported that the biggest difference is that seventh graders would not have an option to take algebra I. Instead they could take an accelerated seventh grade math if they were eligible and wanted to.
With the new Common Core State Standards, algebra I standards will be moved to eighth grade, algebra II standards along with pre-calculus and calculus standards will be moved to algebra I.