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GRAVETTE -- Members of the Gravette school board held a special meeting Tuesday, Aug. 28, to consider the agreement with the construction manager on the upcoming Gravette schools building project and examine architects' drawings of the four proposed projects.

Dennis Kurczek, business manager, spoke to the board about the budget for a speech pathologist position. Kim Davis outlined the need for a speech pathologist in the district. She said studies show that one in seven students have autism. Board members voted to approve adding a speech pathologist position on the school staff. They specified that applicants for the position must have a master's degree.

Richard Page, superintendent of schools, and Tracy Moorman, school board president, updated the board on the construction manager agreement. They have been in negotiations with Crossland Construction regarding the agreement and a written agreement with final contracts is expected to be available for approval soon.

Clay McGill and Mike Spaeth, principal architects with BiLD Architects, displayed drawings of floor plans for the school building projects. McGill first reviewed plans for the new high school gym. A discussion was held on the advisability of moving the volleyball team into the current competition gym rather than staying at the high school. Board members voted unanimously to move the volleyball team to the competition gym. Plans include new lettering on the exterior of the gym, installation of air conditioning units, updating the locker rooms and changing the flooring so that volleyball lines are predominant on the court.

McGill also presented plans for the remodeling at Glenn Duffy Elementary School. Board members made a detailed examination of proposed improvements, including reconfiguring the entrance for a safer entry and exit to the building, updating the doors, adding faculty restrooms and creating new storage space.

Mike Spaeth displayed drawings and outlined improvements at Gravette Middle School. These include the addition of a robotics lab, remodeling of the school nurse's area and creating some smaller classrooms needed for use by dyslexic students or conferences with Ozark Guidance Center personnel. He said architectural engineers are on standby awaiting final approval of the plans.

Spaeth also showed drawings and outlined improvements for the career center. The career center will feature a 4,000-square-foot auto services lab with six car bays, a 3,000-square-foot industrial production (machining) lab and a 3,000-square-foot welding lab with 15 welding stations. The Gravette career center campus is a satellite school for Northwest Technical Institute and has students enrolled from Bentonville, Gentry and Gravette. Superintendent Page said the welding program is almost full, 10 students are currently enrolled in machining classes and 10 in heating and air.

Board members discussed the proposed purchase of land adjoining school property. Two property owners have land the school is interested in and, since one property is owned by family members of Hope Duke, a member of the board, she left the meeting prior to the land purchase discussion.

Page presented a review of pricing on comparable properties in the area and said the board must secure approval from the Arkansas commissioner of education before purchase. Board members reviewed the size and location of the lots and voted unanimously to seek the commissioner's approval to make an offer on three lots plus 3.6 acres at fair market value, as determined by Hudson Appraisal Inc. The need for additional parking to meet state and city requirements, the proximity of the land to the current campus and the need for land for future expansion will be cited in the approval request letter.

In other business, board members voted unanimously to approve the resignation of counselor Sara Ruth, effective immediately. Unanimous approval was also given to authorizing business manager Kurczek to make wire transfers of bond money received and placing it in a separate account and to adding disbursing officer Jodi Moore to the signature card at the Bank of Gravett.

A board planning session is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 23, at 3 p.m. to discuss school district goals.

General News on 09/05/2018

Print Headline: Gravette board considers architect drawings, discusses land purchase

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