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Boards agree to move forward with middle school study

By NEESEY PAYNE

neesey@southwesttimes.com

It has been a question asked for months now amongst, Pulaski County School Board, Pulaski County Board of Supervisors and community members, alike – “What is going to be done with Pulaski and Dublin middle schools?”

 

In March, a school renovation plan was discussed during a joint session of Pulaski County School Board and Pulaski County Board of Supervisors (BOS). During the session, BOS Chairman, Joe Sheffey asked if there were recommendations to have “one particular school or remodel both Pulaski and Dublin middle schools.”

 

It was decided an architectural firm should be contacted to get cost estimates. Doing this would give community members a comparison of the costs of various options for the schools.

 

At Monday’s joint session, plans were made to move forward with the study.

 

County Administrator Peter Huber suggested two architectural firms the county believed to be most qualified for the job, OWPR Inc. (which was involved in building Pulaski and Riverlawn elementary schools) and CRA. Jared Linkous, county engineer, said the county received proposals from both firms and is open to receiving presentation proposals for selections at this time.

 

Pulaski County School Board Vice-Chairman Jeff Bain had some concerns.

He said the selection process of an architectural firm is usually the responsibility of the school board. He believed the county’s solicitation of a request for a proposal left the school board out of the loop.

 

My understanding through experience, history and reading of the code that it is the responsibility of the school board to select (the firm) rather than a collective decision.”

 

I don’t think there was an intent to disserve the school board’s authority,” said Huber. Huber explained the firms are a tool the county has at its disposal and the school board can choose to use it or not.

 

Draper Supervisor Dean Pratt said Bain had a point. “I think the school board needs to tell us what they need and (the supervisors) make the decision with the money.” He added he believes there needs to be open communication with both boards so there are no surprises in the process.

 

Huber said that he’s seen processes like this stall over the years.

 

I’m worried about there being too much lag time. It’s going to take quite a bit of community time figuring out how to do this because the middle schools have three or four different options and everyone has a different perspective on it. Right now, nobody has numbers on any of those perspectives. Getting some numbers is a start to figuring out what the community at large would want to do,” he said.

 

Pulaski County School Board member Joe Guthrie agreed. He said, “Now is a historic opportunity to build a middle school while interest rates are low, while construction costs are relatively low. If we don’t’ take advantage of this opportunity now, I’m afraid we might look back and say, ‘Oh wow, what if we would have just built that school a few years ago when interest rates and construction costs were low.’”

 

Guthrie said he was pleased that both boards could agree on something. “The two boards are pretty much in agreement that something needs to be done. That’s a big first step that a lot of us give ourselves credit for. We are rolling in the same direction and that is a good thing,” he said.

 

We need to have some numbers so we can determine what is the best option with how we proceed and move forward. The best way to do that is through doing this study,” Guthrie added.

 

During Thursday night’s session of Pulaski County School Board, Ronnie Nichols, director of operations, recommended the board allow the two architectural firms suggested by the county present bids to the board.

 

Pulaski County School Board Chairman Mike Barbour said he believed it would be appropriate to schedule a special meeting of the board for the purpose of hearing both presentations. Board members agreed.

 

The board is working to secure a date to hear the presentations.

 

 

 

4 Responses to Boards agree to move forward with middle school study

  1. david

    September 25, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    I have an idea….I know that the cool buildings and the revitalization of the schools will be great for a down trodden community to look at, you know since SOOOOO many of our youth stay in the community after their 12 years of schooling. How about we invest in the children??? HUH. How about some updated school books, or the great leaders of this community make Pulaski known to companies and vendors to build and set up shop in Pulaski.

    In conclusion, GET NEW REPRESENTATIVES FOR THE COMMUNITY! that is a great start!

  2. Native

    September 26, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    David, I do agree with you to a point. But how can we attract and retain new businesses when our prison has nicer facilities than our school system? Many, many updates are needed throughout the community. Pulaski County has been the ugly stepchild of the New River Valley for far to long. If we want to successfully bring business back to Pulaski County AND retain those businesses, we must upgrade are educational AND recreational facilities. Why would any new business locate here when Wythe and Montgomery counties both have far more to offer their employees? The conservative approach taken by our elected officials isn’t working and needs to be revamped across the board!

  3. cougar alumn

    October 10, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    So, David, how about in the middle of August you visit the middle schools. I bet you step inside the door and decide your sarcasm can’t stand the heat. The schools do just fine with the materials they are provided and technology, updated material, and such are a priority in the county at large. Obviously you spend too much time on the web commenting and complaining to actually step foot in a classroom to know what is going on or the resources available.

    • David

      November 14, 2012 at 7:36 pm

      Well lets see “Alumn”, would it make more sense to get a new air conditioning unit and maybe a new heating system,maybe some updated windows, instead of spend possibly multi-millions on a complete renovation package. After all, where is the money going to come from, since Pulaski is a thriving city?

      I agree that the students should have a comfortable environment when learning, after all Pulaski has some of the lowest drop out rates in the State…6.9% which has a total enrollment of 1,400 students in high school and 4700 total county wide(DOE).

      Also naming statistics, Pulaski County has for the 11th year fell under 50% on State wide performance. This year Test scores fell to under 50% pass rate, Free or reduced lunch rose for the 11th year in a row. All of these statistics are without hardly any NEW enrollement.

      You say…”Schools do just fine”, well it appears they are actually on the decline. So what does all of the statistics mean to YOU and me. Because the test scores have fallen that means that the schools are not doing just fine with the materials they are provided, they are actually failing your student and mine. We can attribute the free or reduced lunch on the rise to loss of income or lack of employment in the community.Guess who helps pay for this program…

      Since it appears that the elected officials are bringing companies to the area, this will change ;). The new Burger King that is in route will provide the $7.25 hr jobs that we have grown used to. And Enrollment in PC schools has stayed the same, no new people to the area for kids to enjoy this newly updated facility means that TAXES are about to rise more, and YOU and me will foot the bill.Because statistically, if we earn more, we pay more…(math), so we as a community can see new updated facilities. Wouldnt it make more sense to invest these monies into where it is needed, and that is resources and materials for students.

      Maybe your right in a new renovation package, footed by the tax payers and maybe a couple grants…but mostly by the tax payers. After all, the PC school system has had an abundance of new students enrolling..right? So I agree with native in doing everything that we..(TAXPAYER and COMMUNITY ALIKE) can do to bring new business to this area, and retain it. After all that would be one of the first things companies look at in wanting to relocate a business, is the schools. So can you tell me what major manufactoring company has proposed a deal to come to pulaski, or what marketing firm has decided to call pulaski home? I get it, we are doing this so when the companies FINALLY DECIDE to come, the schools will be updated.

      You see, Pulaski is doing everything backwards, and mostly because of people, such as yourself, probably doing things backwards for along time. Well it seems Pulaski is in need of a change, and spending this money on a building that can have some updates, instead of a completely new facility is outrageous.

      Lastly, yes I do spend my time on the internet and maybe I do complain to much. But let me give you a quick lesson on definitions, and you shouldnt have any trouble with this, since after all you probably did just fine with your resources in school.

      First…”Earned”. You see I have earned every right to complain and bi**h when I want, I spent 2 years in Afghanistan where I was apart of a community who has given citizens such as yourself the FREEDOM and luxury to argue and write what you want in this little forum. I have watched people die, have dodged bullets and have left my family behind all while sacrificing for you. So yes…I WILL CONTINUE TO COMPLAIN WHEN I WANT!

      “Priviledge”-You would fall in this catagory. You are allowed the Priviledge to write on this forum, say whatever you want to say in this forum, come home from work and watch 200 channels on your dish tv, VOTE in elections, and do whatever legally you want. My community has made this possible for you!So in short….YOUR WELCOME.