Riverside Administration and board review building plans
Mark Cahoon, architect with CahoonSteiling Architecture Planning, presented building plans for the new Riverside East elementary building at the Monday, Aug. 11, meeting.
Cahoon said the specs are 90 plus percent complete. By the next meeting the plans should be in Little Rock for approval and to the contractor for final cost estimates.
Board members Greg Douglas, Mike Brickell, Mike Brown, Rick Austin and Len B. Nall, Superintendent Tommy Knight, all principals, and guests had the opportunity to view the plans.
Cahoon said they are talking to the contractors about ways to get a better soil compaction following the recent testing. He assured board members they would choose what will give the district a solid building. Extra cost has not yet been estimated on the dirt work.
The group reviewed plans which included the administration area, kitchen/cafeteria, covered walkways, hallways, classrooms, teacher work areas, art and music rooms, storage, nurse's area and reading room. There will be a stage with the required lift and the cafeteria will be similar to the high school cafeteria, only smaller. The new facility will have a safety net security with one entrance door.
"Mona Smith (cafeteria manager) has been very helpful in getting the kitchen plans organized," Cahoon said. "It will mimic what we have in the high school."
The regular classrooms will be approximately 850 square feet or slightly larger. The kindergarten rooms will be approximately 1,000 square feet.
"We will be working with Chad Fowler starting on the millwork drawings," Cahoon said.
Cahoon said the water pressure is right on the line for the sprinkler system. To compensate they plan to use oversized pipes which should work well.
Each classroom will have ducted supply system and return which will allow heat and air to be regulated, to a point, for each room.
Superintendent Knight said there will be awnings to the safe room and the playground will have to be moved to be closer to the new facility.
The question asked by the board and guests was "when can we start?"
Cahoon said the approval and updated cost estimates should be in by the end of September and it should start shortly after that.
Superintendent Knight asked Cahoon to prepare a set of updated building drawings to have in the office.
In other business Superintendent Knight stressed the need for a bus shop.
"They do a lot more than changing oil and really need a work area," Knight said. "Our guys can build their own work benches and storage closets which will save money. The new shop will need a work area, storage room for tools, and office space with a computer for work orders."
The board voted unanimously to grant the request for a resident transfer for an elementary student to Brookland School District. The family has moved into the district and they want their child to continue to attend Brookland.
"We have always let students come and go upon request," Superintendent Knight said. "We need to look at each request closer, especially the students going out of the district. Other schools are stricter about releasing students."
The board also discussed the new regulations on teacher insurance.
"What was the Gold Plan is now the Premium," Knight said. "The affordable premiums will have a high deductable. To qualify for insurance employees must be full time."
Knight recommended the board extend custodian Barbara Howard's contract one hour a day so she will qualify for insurance. The board unanimously voted for the extended contract.
Michael Adams resigned as bus mechanic and the board voted to hire Chris Snyder full time to fill the position.
Knight recommended hiring Tammy Regan for the cafeteria. The board approved his recommendation unanimously.
Principal LeeAnn Harrell, West elementary, said she had 43 enrolled in kindergarten. Mr. Knight suggested holding off on hiring until an exact number is obtained.
"I hate to hire someone and then the numbers go down when school starts," he said.
Knight also asked for the board to think about a substitute, short-term nurse to fill in while Holly Taylor is on maternity leave.
The board previously tabled passing an athletic handbook. Board member Mike Brickell questioned the clause about students not being able to quit one sport and participate in another. Principal Jeff Priest explained the student only has to wait until the season of the quit sport is over, and then participate in another spot.
"It is like an unwritten rule," Knight said. "We have used it before."
The board passed the athletic handbook unanimously.
Principal Harrell talked to the board about the elementary handbook. She said sometimes the punishment for kindergarten may be different than the punishment for a six grader. She went on to say the principals feel the high school handbook should be different than the elementary.
"We don't have the same issues," she said. "Everything is not always black and white."
She asked for a change in wording giving a little more room on each situation with the minimum punishment being counseling and the maximum punishment expulsion.
"We can be creative with the little ones," she said. "They can lose privileges or recess, pick up paper on the playground."
The board voted to accept the new guidelines.
The next meeting will be Monday, Sept. 8, due to Labor Day.
Superintendent Knight said he has been approached with a group of people wanting to form a booster club as a support organization.
"They could maybe help with projects the district can't afford," he said. "Just share your input with me or Mr. Priest."