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School facilities in line for upgrades

Several Halifax County school system buildings and equipment are slated to see improvements over a three-year capital improvement and equipment replacement plan, according to Maintenance Director Larry Roller. 

These proposed improvements were first mentioned in December at a joint meeting with the board of supervisors, and Roller is scheduled to provide more plan details during the school board meeting Monday at 6 p.m. in the public meeting room of the Mary Bethune office complex. 

Immediate needs previously identified include replacing the roof of the C-section of Halifax County High School, as well as the roof on the vocational wing and HVAC controls and equipment upgrades, which are expected to begin this year. 

Once the roofs are replaced, the schools’ 10-year re-roof plan will be complete, which Roller said should mean no more roof replacements for another 20 years. 

Other capital improvement projects involve asbestos abatement at Sinai Elementary and Sydnor Jennings, the last two primary schools in need of abating. 

Additional renovations also are anticipated at the high school, Meadville Elementary, Sinai Elementary, Clays Mill Elementary, Scottsburg Elementary and Sydnor Jennings Elementary schools. 

Several capital need improvements also in the works include the most expensive project, upgrades to the 50-year-old high school football stadium and athletic fields at a rough cost  of $6,000,000. 

The 2014 renovation costs total $1,052,250, in 2015 costs will likely drop to $650,000, and in 2016 costs are expected to reach $767,000. 

In March, renovations also are expected to begin at the STEM Center, which is one of many steps involved in accommodating the courthouse renovations. 

The special education program currently occupies the former Health Department space at Mary Bethune and is anticipated to move to the STEM Center in August. 

In other new business, Herndon will lead discussion on the Youth Career Connect Grant opportunity. 

According to the United States Department of Labor website, the program is designed to encourage America’s school districts, institutions of higher education, the workforce investment system and their partners to scale up evidence-based high school models that will transform the high school experience for America’s youth.

The Department of Labor will use up to $100 million in revenues from the H-1B visa program to fund approximately 25 to 40 grants for individual or multi-site projects. Grants will be awarded to local education agencies, public or non-profit local workforce entities or non-profits with education reform experience.

In unfinished business, Assistant Superintendent Valdivia Marshall is expected to seek board approval for the GCBA-R2 guidelines for previous experience. 

Several recognitions will take place during the meeting following the election of chairman and vice-chairman, appointment of clerk and deputy clerk and appointment of a designee to attend school board meetings in the absence of the superintendent. 

The chairman will propose the school board meeting date and time as well as introduce the 11th edition of the Robert’s Rules Of Order and request adoption by the board. 

Herndon also is slated to give a report on the Virginia Department of Education compliance review of special education. 

Director of Finance Jay Camp will offer the financial report and will request payment of bills. 

Director of Secondary Education Frosty Owens is scheduled to request use of facilities. 

Chris Parker is slated to comment during the citizen comment portion of the meeting. 

Prior to adjourning, board members are expected to go into closed session to discuss personnel and student discipline.