School moves for­ward with new freezer fa­cil­ity

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Janelle Jessen Staff Writer [email protected]

The Siloam Springs School District is mov­ing for­ward with plans for a new freezer stor­age fa­cil­ity for the district’s food ser­vice depart­ment while putting ren­o­va­tions to the space that housed the for­mer North­side Ele­men­tary School Li­brary on hold.

In Novem­ber, As­sis­tant Su­per­in­ten­dent Jody Wig­gins re­ported that bids on the two projects were higher than ex­pected and sug­gested tak­ing time to re­group be­fore mak­ing any de­ci­sions.

The district has put out a re­quest for con­struc­tion man­age­ment firms to sub­mit their qual­i­fi­ca­tions for the freezer stor­age fa­cil­ity but has de­cided to post­pone the li­brary ren­o­va­tion at North­side Ele­men­tary School un­til the next bud­get year, Wig­gins said at the Dec. 13 school board meet­ing.

The new freezer stor­age fa­cil­ity will be lo­cated be­hind South­side Ele­men­tary School. A new North­side Ele­men­tary School li­brary ad­di­tion was com­pleted last sum­mer, and the school had plans to ren­o­vate the for­mer li­brary into of­fice space.

Wig­gins said the district has al­ready nar­rowed down the con­struc­tion man­age­ment firms for

the freezer stor­age fa­cil­ity and planned to con­duct in­ter­views last week. He said he hopes to bring back a rec­om­men­da­tion in Jan­uary for board ap­proval.

Wig­gins also re­ported the district’s track ren­o­va­tion pro­ject is mak­ing progress. The school put out a bid re­quest for the de­mo­li­tion of the vis­i­tor bleach­ers and re­ceived a bid of $0 from the Col­cord (Okla.) School District. The Col­cord ath­letic depart­ment plans to dis­man­tle the bleach­ers and re­pur­pose them, he said. Once the bleach­ers are re­moved, the Siloam Springs School main­te­nance depart­ment will re­move the locker room so the jump pits can be moved to the west side of the track.

Wig­gins said he would be meet­ing with track coaches from the school and John Brown Univer­sity to for­mal­ize the lay­out of the new fa­cil­ity, and hopes to have more de­tails to present to the board in Jan­uary.

The district has plans to ap­ply for a $30,000 joint-use agree­ment grant from the Arkansas Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion for the track pro­ject.

“We think we qual­ify and we are in the process of putting that grant ap­pli­ca­tion to­gether,” Wig­gins said.

In Novem­ber, Wig­gins up­dated school board mem­bers on the safety mea­sures the school has taken in prepa­ra­tion for the re­lease of rec­om­men­da­tions from the Arkansas School Safety Com­mis­sion. The fi­nal ver­sion of the rec­om­men­da­tions was re­leased in early De­cem­ber, Wig­gins said.

He re­ported that he has al­ready gone over the sum­mary with prin­ci­pals and talked to school re­source of­fi­cers, and said he plans to meet with Po­lice Chief Jim Wil­meth af­ter the first of the year.

“We ac­tu­ally have done quite a few things in the last year that worked to­ward meet­ing those rec­om­men­da­tions,” Wig­gins said. “We’ve got a few more things in process right now, I think we set fairly well.”

In other busi­ness, school board mem­bers ap­proved the sale of two 1996 Thomas Built buses — one with 185,588 miles and the other with 158,865 miles — and a 2003 Chevy Mal­ibu with 236,655 miles.

David Hud­son, bus dis­ci­pline su­per­vi­sor, said this will be the first time in three years the school trans­porta­tion depart­ment has sold any ve­hi­cles. They will be ad­ver­tised for two weeks and then sealed bids will be opened. The ve­hi­cles can be viewed at the bus garage, lo­cated at 15000B N. Mt. Olive, be­hind the In­ter­me­di­ate School. Bids must be re­ceived by 4 p.m. Mon­day, Jan. 7.

School board mem­bers also ac­cepted the res­ig­na­tion of John Gos­sett, who teaches in the au­dio vis­ual film and tele­vi­sion depart­ment at the high school. In his res­ig­na­tion let­ter, Gos­sett ex­plained that af­ter five years of teach­ing in Siloam Springs he has ac­cepted a po­si­tion at the Fayet­teville School District.

“It has been a plea­sure to have the op­por­tu­nity to teach these stu­dents over the past five years and the ad­min­is­tra­tion has been very sup­port­ive dur­ing my time with the school district,” he wrote in the let­ter.

The board voted to hire Jor­dan Hunt Young to fill the open po­si­tion. Young is grad­u­at­ing from John Brown Univer­sity in De­cem­ber with a de­gree in dig­i­tal cinema, and has also served as a com­mer­cial videog­ra­pher through a per­sonal ven­ture and worked as me­dia co­or­di­na­tor for Camp Siloam. Young will be ap­ply­ing for a teach­ing li­cense, ac­cord­ing to a let­ter of rec­om­men­da­tion from the high school in­ter­view com­mit­tee.

Board mem­bers took the fol­low­ing ad­di­tional ac­tions:

• Ap­proved al­low­ing a teacher to work through their prepara­tory pe­riod from Aug. 15 through Nov. 16.

• Ap­proved the trans­fer of one stu­dent from the Siloam Springs School District to the Spring­dale School District.

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