Work on new JMS gym will start in Nov.

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The Clarke County Board of Education approved the low bid for a new athletic field house at Clarke County High School at the Oct. 14 meeting and Superintendent Larry Bagley said work would start soon on the new gymnasium at Jackson Middle School.

Assurance, a Thomasville company, was the low bidder at $1.7 million to construct the 5,600 square feet field house at CCHS. The board approved the bid at the meeting.

The facility will be built in the north end zone of Prim Stadium with federal ESSER 3 funds.

Bagley also told board members that construction of the new Jackson Middle School gym will start in November. The new gym will be built to the rear of the school and the existing gym.

“The holdup has been because they are waiting on material to get started and the fact that steel will not be delivered until January. The project will be paid for using our capital bond funding,” Bagley said. The cost of the new gym is $2.7 million.

Bagley said that ESSER funds are also being used to replace heating and cooling units at Jackson Immediate School (45 units) and Grove Hill Elementary School (14 units). The change is to improve air quality in schools and reduce the risk of health hazards, especially because of Covid-19.

Another planned improvement is to replace doors and windows in all schools.

The school system has received over $10 million in federal ESSER funds that is allowing all of the work to be done.

Covid numbers down

Covid-19 cases continue to trend downward in local communities and in the schools.

Bagley thanked the system’s head nurse, Ashley Baugh, and other nurses for their work.

“The past three weeks, our numbers have been dropping to the point that we hardly have anyone out of school-based on our weekly tracing…We only had four out the week of Sept. 27 through Oct. 1.”

Bagley said if the downward trend continues, masks may be made optional after Nov. 1. He said if numbers go up after the holidays, any changes would be reconsidered.

Bagley said that local schools have been successful with grants. Jackson Middle School was just awarded a $75,000 grant from International Paper to further the work on its STEM ag center. The money will be awarded in $25,000 increments over three years.

“With these funds, JMS is striving to have a career exposure lab dedicated to the timber industry, highlighting the many jobs connected to our primary local industry,” Bagley said.

Agenda items

The board approved an English Language Arts Textbook Committee composed of many teachers from throughout the system. Copier contracts for the Central Office were also approved.

In personnel items, Hamilton Salter was employed as a special ed teacher at WHMS; resignations were accepted from Emily Steadham, GES secretary/bookkeeper; Lori Weaver, WHMS secretary/bookkeeper; and Tara Wilson, WHMS special ed teacher. Portia Jones, GES special ed aide was granted catastrophic sick leave.

Bills of $1,193,964.41 and payroll of $1,926,721.93 were approved.

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