BIC Board narrows in on building design

Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Architect Hardy Little and his associate talked to BIC board members Monday, June 9, about design options for the district's proposed unified preK-12 facility to be located on Highway 18 at the Mississippi/Craighead County line.

The Buffalo Island School Board is getting closer to settling on a design plan for the district's proposed new preK-12 grade campus to be built on the Mississippi/Craighead County line. Architects from Little and Cromwell brought to the board's Monday, June 9, meeting a narrowed down design plan for the facility.

Architect Hardy Little talked the board through the proposed design. He said the auditorium would be up front, the front entrance would have a horseshoe shape, and the building would have a spine with wings leading off it. The spine would not only include the auditorium but physical education facility, library and at the back the cafeteria, which would have separate dining areas for elementary and high school. Each side of the building has three wings. On the elementary side one wing would be upper elementary, then lower elementary, and the back wing would be preschool. On the opposite side junior high would be housed in the front wing, high school in the middle and vocational programs in the back. Also in the back wing would be band and choral classes for sound proofing reasons.

The board looked carefully at the proposed design option making suggestions of changes and additions they would like to see. Board members wanted a better idea of traffic flow, an idea where the safe room would be located, and made suggestions as to the front design of the facility.

"This is the first time I've seen any school district offer everything in one facility," board member Jason Stewart said. "We will have everything in one building and that is something that isn't seen very often."

"I don't think people know the drastic affect this could have on our district," board member Todd Edwards said. "We are going to have some unique things going on in this building and kids are going to want to come here. I believe our enrollment will go up once this is built because kids are going to want to be here."

Architects from Little and Cromwell will be back Monday, June 23, to show board members a plan that includes all their suggestions. The board will review that plan before deciding on a final design.

Also present at Monday's meeting was Marshall Hughes of Beardsley and Associates. Hughes presented the board with a millage increase ballot resolution that will have to be passed at the board's June 23 meeting in order for it to be published in July and for the proposed millage to be on the September school election ballot. The proposed resolution is for 9 new debit service mills and the extension of the current 8 debt service mills. If passed the district's millage will go from 33 to mills to 42 mills, which is in line with the state average. Hughes also gave the board an application for bond issue to go along with the millage increase all in preparation of constructing a new unified BIC campus. The board will make a decision concerning this matter at its special meeting.

BIC superintendent Gaylon Taylor was excited to share with the board district test scores for this year. Taylor said not all the scores are back yet but the ones that are show great improvement. He said in junior high seventh grade math scores went from 79 percent proficient last year to 83 proficient this year, in literacy the scores jumped from 70 percent proficient last year to 90 this year and there was also a big jump in science scores.

"We need to somehow, some way let our teachers know how proud we are of them and the work they have done this year," Taylor said. "Fourth grade literacy is 100 percent proficient. We are going in the direction we need to go and these teachers need to know how much we appreciate them."

In other business the board recognized and congratulated student Jillian Meacham for her art award. The board also approved the hire of Tyler Pickett, Cody Edgar, Jason Thomas, Kyle Rowland, and Lela Ashley as well as the resignations of Marti Edwards and Mary Jackson.

Taylor told board members he spoke to staff members about a policy concerning the number of sick days and felt everyone was in agreement but since has had several complaints. The district personnel policy committee will be bringing to the board a recommendation on the matter, but Taylor is going to recommend the district stay at the 120 days, with 90 days being paid at substitute pay upon retirement if the staff member has worked with the district 10 years, setting up a sick bank and allowing certified staff to change their two convenience days for sick days if they are not used during the year. The board will make a decision on the matter when the PPC makes its recommendation.

The board then approved the 2014-15 migrant budget, the 2014-15 certified salary schedule with additional changes and approved the renewal of student accident insurance.

The board voted to make Bill Taylor sole athletic director instead of having two people in the position. They also approved adding $500 to the golf coach, softball coach and baseball coach stipends. The board voted 5-1 with Jason Stewart voting no to give elementary fifth and sixth grade coaches $2,500 stipend.

Before the board adjourned, Taylor informed them the Leachville campus received a grant for $19,000 for a new walk in freezer for the kitchen.

Architect Hardy Little and his associate talked to BIC board members Monday, June 9, about design options for the district's proposed unified preK-12 facility to be located on Highway 18 at the Mississippi/Craighead County line. (Town Crier photo/Christie Zolman)

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