Manila Mayor asks for moratorium on tearing down the old gymnasium

Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Manila Mayor Wayne Wagner addressed the Manila School Board about the fate of the old high school gymnasium. Also pictured are from left: seated -- Superintendent Pam Castor and board members Johnny McCain and Tracey Reinhart.

Manila Mayor Wayne Wagner addressed the school board at the May 15 meeting. He requested the board consider a moratorium on taking down the old high school gymnasium.

“I understand you have to get it off the school books, and it can be done without tearing it down,” he said. “You could put it in the city's name and it could be leased back to the school and you would still have control.”

Wagner said the gym is a historical landmark and there is a wide range of uses to be considered.

“It could be used for art shows, basketball games, science fairs, or many other activities,” he said. “Look at what the city and school have done with the baseball and softball programs working together. I can't think of anything we can't make successful if we work together. I know it has to be looked at to see if it will work.”

He said there could be grant money and private money available to make improvements.

“I'm open for suggestions,” Wagner said. “Maybe it is nostalgic on my part, but I do think the students and the community can benefit from keeping the gym.”

Wagner went on to say he realized it would need renovations.

“I would never want to be part of anything that would look like a sore thumb to the school or the community,” he said.

He said he feels a renovated activity building would be beneficial to the students.

Board President Jeremy Jackson expressed his appreciation to Mayor Wagner for sharing his thoughts.

Also, Mayor Wagner said it was his understanding the Head Start building given to Etowah to be moved and used for a head start could not be done.

“It is my understanding the movers would not be able to move it because of bridges,” Mayor Wagner said. “If Etowah is not able to accept the building, the city of Manila could have the building moved near the fire station for a daycare."

Superintendent Pam Castor said she would talk to the mayor of Etowah.

“It was our idea to use the building to benefit the kids and if it can be done through the city of Manila I have no problem with it,” Castor said.

Following an executive session, the board voted unanimously to accept the resignations of Julie Dorris, high school English teacher; Becky Ritsmon, elementary teacher; and Brandon Nix, teacher/coach.

The board then voted unanimously to hire Sarah Friedel as high school English teacher and Steven Milligan as assistant high school principal.

Castor informed the board the district had received money from the governor from NSLA (National School Lunch Act for educational needs of students based on school free and reduced lunch percentage) in the amount of $40,484.06. She recommended several purchases totaling $40,782.99.

The board approved purchases for a television for the new building which can be used to display menus, composites or making announcements for $2,252.29; Chrome Books which will bring high school up to one on one for $29,501.22; and desktops/software for $9,029.48. There will be a balance of $298.99.

Castor reviewed two policies for the board to review and said she would have more later after she and Mr. Evers (incoming superintendent) go over them.

The two policies approved included expenses for school board training and workshops which will be held in June and the approval of electronic transfers. Mrs. Castor said some electronic transfers are necessary. The district prints out transfer documents for the required signatures.

In other business the board:

*Approved the financial report including transfers. Castor explained the district can only carry over 20 percent of the current year revenue for operating and debt service. The excess will be moved to a building fund.

*Approved the requirements for the Special Education and other Federal Programs for the 2018-2019 school year.

*Voted to increase lunch prices to $2.10. Mrs. Castor said because the district is below the federal minimum they have to raise the price every year.

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