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School board making plans for new middle school



The Hancock County Board of Education monthly meeting was last week on Thursday, September 22 at 5:30 p.m. and Superintendent Asberry recognized another of the School Resource Officers, Deputy Mark Powers, who is assigned to South Hancock Elementary School. Approval was made for many school improvements as well.

SRO Mark Powers Recognized

Deputy Butch Garst (SRO assigned to HCMS & HCHS) introduced Powers to the Board: “Mark Powers, he’s a fantastic guy. I’ve known him for years, he started in 1994, about the same time I did. One thing I’ll tell you, everyone always says that Mark is the nicest officer they’ve ever had. Mark’s always had a great reputation. It’s good to have someone that has some extra experience that Deputy Frank Howard (SRO assigned to NHES) and I don’t have that we can utilize. He’s fantastic. He’s perfect for the position.”

SHES Principal Jennifer Howe spoke to the Board about how pleased everyone is with Deputy Powers’ presence at the school: “He is a wonderful asset to our school. Our kids love him. He was holding hands with one of our little kindergarteners this morning, walking them in from the playground. They love seeing him at lunch. He eats lunch down in the cafeteria with them every day. At our Grandparents Luncheon last week, we had so many comments about how grateful they are to see his face in front of our school when they were coming in. We love him and we’re glad he’s with us.”

Deputy Powers said: “It’s given me a whole different outlook on life. I’m happier now.”

Each school building in the state of Kentucky is mandated to have an SRO and they are still looking for one who will be assigned to HCMS. Deputy Garst said: “Hopefully, we can find someone to do the HCMS position also. We’re still looking.” In the interim, Garst will be the SRO assigned to HCMS & HCHS campus.

New Locks in schools

Phase 2 of the plan to put new locks in all schools in the district was approved by the Board. “As a safety protocol, we are going to change out all of the locks in our district,” Asberry said. “At the high school, right now, they have thumbnail locks to where every time that you open them, they will unlock. So, someone has to actually physically lock them back every time. The locks that we’re going to get – they stay locked all of the time. We want the classrooms to be locked all of the time. You can go out, but whenever you shut the door it’s locked automatically. A person inside the room can get out anytime, but can’t get back in unless somebody lets them in. Or, the teacher would have the key.”

Two New School Buses

The purchase of 2 new school buses is underway. One has been approved for purchase at $136,064, with air conditioning. If they approve the second bus, the total cost for both will be around $272,000. The state reimburses 70 percent of costs for transportation, so the school will pay 30 percent of that cost, Asberry said, which will be around $80,000.

New Carpet & Tile at HCMS

The approved project to place new carpet and tile in Hancock County Middle School is underway as well. “We’re putting new carpet and tile in 3 class rooms and in the media center,” Asberry said.

District Facility Plan Revision – eventual construction of new middle school

Asberry explained the Board’s revision of their plan of the eventual construction of a new middle school: “What they did was, they met with the Hancock County Local Planning Committee (made up of members of the community, members of the schools’ staff and parents that meet and talk about the future concerning any facility’s future). We wanted to make a small change to that facility plan, so we reconvened the Local Planning Committee and talked about that. What the finding was – we have an opportunity to purchase some land that’s next to the middle school.”

They already own 22 acres and now plan on purchasing another 18 acres – equaling 40 acres total. There will now be room for the new middle school when it’s construction begins. When it’s completed, the old middle school building will then serve as the Board of Education.

“That plan was in place before I became superintendent,” Asberry added. “Whenever they did the second nickel, that was what they told the public that would happen – the agreement was they’d build a new middle school with that money. Right now, our bonding capacity is not where it needs to be. The construction costs of building a new middle school keeps rising every year, like everything does. We’re going to probably have to have around $40 million in bonding to build a school. Right now, we have around $26 million. The nickel that was passed by the community – that is making it to where it’s building up faster but it’s still going to be quite a few more years before we get enough to build it.”

New Track & Football Field

Approval was made of BG-3 and Asberry explained that process: “That is the next step for us to start getting bids on a rubberized track and new turf football field. This is going to cost about $2.3 million for both. We’re going to use bonding for that. We would have enough money to do that but right now the legislature, for the first time, is allowing us to bond for athletic things and this might go away – it’s never happened before that they’ve allowed you to bond this stuff. So, this is not going to affect when we get a new middle school because we can pay for this without the bond.

We’re going to have to be out some expense if we left it the way it is (the football field). The way things are construction-wise right now, it could be a couple hundred thousand dollars to fix.”

He explained how once the new artificial turf football field is installed, it will save money maintenance-wise: “You don’t have to put fertilizer, chemicals or new grass. What you do have – there’s a piece of equipment that comes with that – sometimes you have to fill-in new rubber – you’ll have to go through and brush it with new rubber. The life of one of those is about 12 years. Most of the expense is not the actual turf. Most of the expense is the irrigation and all of the things that go on underneath the field – to where whenever you’re going to be buying a new carpet of artificial turf for it, it is not going to be nearly as expensive. There is a lining, a cushion that goes in it, and it has a 20-25 year warranty on it, depending on what company it’s purchased from and then the carpet has a 12-year warranty on it.”

Approved Purchase of Generator for HCHS

The Board approved the purchase of a new generator for Hancock County High School.

New gym floor

The new gym floor is already installed and the finishing touches were added last week. It had 5 days (September 23-27) of curing to do before anyone could even walk on it, which ended this week and Asberry said it looks good.

Trauma Informed District Plan 22-23 Approved

The Trauma informed plan was approved by the Board. It is a district plan that is approved every year and deals with the social/mental health of students. “If there’s a traumatic event in an individual’s life, (this plan outlines) how we are going to react and how we are going to give help for that student. And then also for a group of students, if there’s ever any traumatic event. These are the protocols we would do to help. There is a Trauma Informed Team that meets inside the school composed of school staff members such as the principal, the SRO, guidance counselor, etc,” Asberry said.

Surplus Approved

“The surplus, all of those items were from NHES cafeteria – booths, 2 wire shelves, etc. We will collect those and there are some state sites we can put them on to see if another school wants to buy them,” Asberry said. “If not, we’ll have an auction eventually. We’ve done that in the past. A lot of times, we don’t have enough to actually attract a lot of people to the auction but if we do it jointly with the County, there’s a bigger crowd.”

Treasurer’s Report

The Treasurer’s Report was as follows: “We began the month of August with $5,831,490. We had receipts of $851,414 and expenditures of $730,821 with the ending amount of $5,976,327.

By Jennifer Wimmer

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