ES board approves Master Facilities Plan

Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Eureka Springs School Board voted Monday to approve the district’s Master Facilities Plan for 2019.

Facilities director Mike Dwyer presented the narrative summary to the board, discussing future projects, current projects and completed projects.

Dwyer said the high school greenhouse has been completed.

“This year, that was our main construction item,” he said. “The entryway to the elementary was completed as well.”

For current projects, Dwyer said the district is looking into a renovation of the elementary school. He said he and superintendent Bryan Pruitt have met with architects regularly to determine how to “do a facelift on that facility,” including upgrading floors, ceilings, doors and other items that have aged over time.

“I think the architects have some preliminary ideas,” Dwyer said. “Our main focus is to get into the public areas, the highest trafficked areas.”

The district is also working on an outdoor classroom, which is being built by SkillsUSA students in the high school.

“These guys are doing really well,” Dwyer said. “Everything they have been doing has been topnotch. This is a really big project and a few were scared to take it on, but they have pushed on through.”

For future projects, he said the district is still working on being approved for federal funds to build a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) storm shelter through a partnership with the Berryville and Green Forest school districts.

“We’ve partnered with Berryville and Green Forest on this,” Dwyer said. “That mitigation plan was created so that we would be eligible for this funding. We haven’t received funding yet; we’re just eligible now. We have gone through those processes to get these grant monies, and I believe we’re halfway there from what it sounds like.”

Pruitt said the first community mitigation meeting on the storm shelter will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, in Berryville.

“That is a pending meeting,” he said. “We will discuss how FEMA applications work and how those monies are funded. All three schools will be in attendance.”

Also at Monday’s meeting, the board voted to accept the resignation of bus driver David Johnson and to approve hiring Terry Lynch as a bus driver pending the completion of a background check.

During the principals’ reports, middle school principal Cindy Holt said the middle school has continued to see higher enrollment throughout the school year.

“This is not typical for this time of year,” she said. “We have gone from having two fifth-grade homerooms to creating a third. We now have three homeroom classrooms to bring our numbers into compliance with state requirements. Our enrollment was that high.”

Holt continued, “It was exciting for us to do. That has all gone very smoothly. Right now, we are at about 207 students, which is good for us.”

As a result of the rising enrollment, Pruitt recommended the board approve hiring Linnea Koester as a paraprofessional at the middle school for the spring semester. He said other staff members were moved around to accommodate the increased enrollment, leaving one paraprofessional position open.

“That way, we will have more time to monitor our numbers and see if we need to hire a third fifth-grade teacher this summer,” Pruitt said.

The board voted to approve hiring Koester as a paraprofessional for the spring semester.

The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11, in the Administration Building.

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