Board hears safety options for proposed middle school


This story originally appeared in the Sept. 22 issue of the Community Voice. For your own subscription, call 270-384-9454.

Three options to add a quick exit to the third-level floor of a proposed middle school met with a positive response last week from what had been a divided school board just a month ago.

Derek Phillips, an architect with Deco Architects, presented options to the board last Thursday to allay fears that a third floor in the proposed building would increase safety risks for students.

Last month, the board voted 3-2 to direct architects to continue with preliminary plans to construct a middle school with three floors, one of which would be partially underground.

Board members David Karnes, Destiny Greer and Dana King voted to replace an earlier plan for a two-story building to reduce costs. Board chairman Troy Grider and member Terry Harvey voiced support to continue with two levels and questioned the ability for teachers and students to exit the top floor of a three-story building in case of an emergency.

As a compromise, the board asked Phillips to develop a plan for an easy and quick way for students on the top floor to get outside and to the ground floor quickly.

Phillips recommended an option that provides an exit into the property between the new school and the high school. That would allow for future additions to the building as needed.

“Another option is a long ramp that goes straight from the top floor out the back of the facility. The third option is a hallway that would lead from the top floor of the middle school into the high school,” Phillips said.

Deco is scheduled for another presentation in October.

The board also gave unanimous approval for a request from athletics director Craig Biggs for maintenance and upgrades to the high school gymnasium, totaling more than $300,000, with funding coming from multiple sources.

A gym floor, estimated at $35,000; gym seats, $240,000; a scorer’s table, $18,000; and gym wall pads, $6,800 will come from district funding. The maintenance budget will fund football press box painting, cheer lock- er room wall improvements, pressure washing the stadium and painting goal posts. Funding from athletic programs will provide tennis nets, backboard pads, rims, softball cage nets, soft- ball wind screen and middle school volleyball standards.

The board also approved funding to purchase two 66-passenger buses and a 34-passenger bus.

In other business, the board approved out of state travel for the FBL A to attend the Fall Nation- al Leadership Conference in Orlando Nov. 16-19. It also approved a working budget of more than $35 million for the 2022-23 school year.

All five board members were present for the meeting.

By Scott Wilson

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