School moves forward with new freezer facility
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.