On top of that, concerns have been raised about needs at the new middle school, which is also to have a considerable size student body and whose project is yet thoroughly completed.
Both concerns were addressed at the Feb. 12 meeting of the Polk School District Board of Education.
Board member Beth Warner led the discussion, addressing the issues at the high school.
According to board minutes and school system officials:
The needs at the high school include installing an elevator, adding modular units (classrooms), repairing the heat and air system, stopping water leaks and replacing ceiling tiles.
The group had discussed in past meetings of having an elevator at the school to comply with the American Disabilities Act standards. Supt. Dr. Billy Pack told the board that he was still in talks with an architect about developing plans for the elevator.
As for the modular units, some board members proposed having 10 to 12, due to the predicted student body size for the 2002-03 school year.
Fall projections predict the 1,068 current student body will blossom to 1,234. With that, not only class space will be needed, but more teachers as well.
At present, a group of administrators and teachers of the school system are traveling to surrounding colleges and universities trying to entice prospective teachers to the school system. The fresh teaching recruitment program was just recently implemented by the school system.
But having enough classrooms is another matter.
Dr. Pack stated that he is presently searching for another modular company “with a better track record” and would report his findings soon.
He added that he would also discuss heating and cooling concerns with the architect.
Board member Ricky Lundy reviewed in detail the heating and cooling problems at the high school and stated the problems must be addressed since they impact the academic learning environment.
Board member Guy Rutland suggested the overcrowding at the high school could be eased by using Purks, which would be vacant in the fall when the student body moves into the new middle school.
But the middle school has its own share of problems, according to Mrs. Warner.
She said the school has space concerns, as students will be moving into the facility at capacity with no rooms for storage or books.
Middle school projections suggest close to 1,100 students will occupy the building this fall, based on current class sizes at Purks and Cedar Hill (sixth and seventh grade), Northside, Westside and Cherokee (outgoing fifth graders) elementary schools.
In addition, the school needs parking spaces and an access road (other than the bypass).
Mrs. Warner requested these concerns be placed as items on the board’s agenda and voted on. She was told by Dr. Harold Wingfield that the board could not vote on the items unless recommended by Pack.
Dr. Wingfield then suggested Dr. Pack take note of the issues and report back to the board.
Board member Harold Lumpkin added that Mrs. Warner’s concerns should be addressed by the Facilities Committee.
That committee, which Lumpkin chairs, was expected to meet last week at the high school. Mrs. Warner and Dan Forsyth are also members. The committee’s members were approved by the board at the February meeting.