Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Area News

May 14, 2014

Long list of school facility needs presented

CROSSVILLE — Schools in Cumberland County have a long list of needs and wants when it comes to facility maintenance, upkeep and expansion. But as principals shared needs at individual schools with the facilities task force of the Cumberland County Board of Education last week, many were saying how thankful they were for what they did have.

"After listening to some of the others schools, I don't feel I should complain," said Pleasant Hill Principal Mary Ann Kotus. "We are in good shape, room wise, with the new addition and are just blessed."

Facility needs ranged from roof replacements to new playground equipment; from cameras and keypads to improve safety to replacing mortar between bricks; from new classroom wings to an auditorium at Cumberland County High School.

Individual school needs are:

Brown Elementary would like awnings over entryways and some sidewalks as well as a digital sign. All are considered capital outlay projects.

At Crab Orchard Elementary, discussions have been ongoing for a new classroom wing and new gymnasium to alleviate overcrowding and use of portable classrooms. The gymnasium is not handicap accessible and the playing area is small in size. Principal Becky Farley also said there is a need for a parking area and there continues to be confusion on if the access to the school is a driveway owned by the school system or a road owned by the county.

"We still don't know who owns the road, so I don't know that I have the authority to say who can and can't come through there," Farley said. In the afternoons, the street is made a one-way street to allow for bus traffic and parent pick-up, though Farley said it is not uncommon for motorists to ignore those signs.

Under maintenance issues, Farley said one playground was removed this past year due to age.

Her school is also experiencing leaks in the roof.

At CCHS, Principal Jon Hall said an auditorium had long been on a list of planned projects. In fact, an auditorium was part of the original school plans. It had also been proposed as part of the building program when Stone Memorial High School was constructed but was removed due to cost of the total project.

Repairs to the football stadium necessary for safety are nearing completion, Hall said, but there had been previous discussion of a more extensive renovation of the structure that could provide usable space under the stadium.

Another capital project is enclosure of the breezeway connecting the main school to F wing; resurfacing the track and resurfacing the tennis courts.

Under maintenance items, Hall said the school was having trouble with sinkholes in the area of the football field and sideline. This is due to aging drain lines that have deteriorated and no longer carry water away from the area. Instead, the ground beneath is washed away.

Also, the school would like to have the parking lot sealed as well as new carpet in the library and new library furniture. There is also a need for new student desks.

"We have desks that are falling apart," Hall said. "Some are held together with duct tape."

The school has used its $10,000 yearly capital outlay allotment to purchase new desks, with a lottery of teachers to determine which classroom is replaced. The $10,000 is able to replace about two classrooms, said Janet Graham, former CCHS principal and interim supervisor of K-12 instruction.

At Homestead Elementary, there is a need for expanding the space of the kitchen, which would be a capital project.

Maintenance items include installation of keypads at all doors, something especially critical to the school due to its unique campus. The school also has sought to maintain its playgrounds and walking trail through its PTO, but the requirements and costs are getting to be too much to handle. Other needs include sidewalks and outside doors.

At Martin Elementary, teachers want to eliminate partitions in the walls that allow the adjoining classroom to hear the activity in the other classroom.

"We have 26 teachers who can hear each other," said Sharon Daniels, principal. She would also like to relocate electric service from the floor to the ceiling, eliminating ongoing repairs from damaged plugs and outlets, and add a circuit breaker to provide greater safety for the school.

Other capital items include addressing the football stadium as well as restroom facilities and library furniture. The school also has problems with its HVAC system, particularly in the kitchen area, making it difficult to work when temperatures rise.

Under maintenance items, the library needs new carpet. Daniels said that, in 37 years, the carpet had been replaced once in the library. There are also two classroom that need new tile. Areas of concrete need to be repaired in front of the school and in the garden area. Last year, the school was able to replace curtains in the Little Theater and also refinish the stage. Daniels said the seating needed improvement, with some seats missing and others in poor condition.

At North Cumberland, Principal Michelle England announced she would be able to eliminate all but one portable classrooms at her school next year, barring an unexpected increase in student enrollment.

"I've used every nook and cranny, but we've managed to pull everybody in except one classroom," England said. "I would like to get rid of my portables. The first three have a musty smell when you go inside."

North Cumberland has been discussed as one of the top priorities for a new classroom addition, along with a new multi-purpose room.

The school is also having trouble with the mortar in the facade coming out, allowing for water intrusion. Also, the block walls are only sealed to the ceiling height, she said, so when the roof leaks, water can introduce in the cement block.

The roof has experienced numerous leaks, though England said all appeared to be fixed at this time. She has not been replacing ceiling tiles as they become damaged by the water intrusion, opting instead to wait until a drier time of year.

Under maintenance items, North Cumberland needs tile in hallways and classrooms, storage areas in classrooms, ceiling projectors to eliminate projectors on carts and a new intercom system.

At The Phoenix School, one item requested is moving the sign to the school from the corner of the Central Services facility to where the school is located, behind the facility. Also, the school uses the former Crossville Elementary School gym, which has not been refinished in some time. A new intercom system is requested as the current system cannot communicate with a few of the portables. Sidewalks are also not placed where many students walk, causing a problem with mud.

One safety concern is the need for a more secure entrance that would also offer privacy for the offices of the school.

At Pine View, there is a request for refinishing the gym floor and striping and sealing the parking lot. Under capital projects, there is a need for library shelving and cafeteria tables. A request is also made for HVAC in the gymnasium.

At Pleasant Hill, there is also a capital request for HVAC in the gymnasium. Maintenance items include tile in hallways, painting of walls, new classroom furniture and power-washing the building

South Cumberland also needs repairs to its roof, or a replacement, along with repair of mortar in the brickwork.

Principal Darrell Threet said a definite need was an alternate traffic exit.

"The big thing is parking and the flow of traffic," Threet said. "We've always said we would like a second entrance."

Long-term capital needs include a cafeteria addition, relocated to allow the current cafeteria to be renovated for pre-k and kindergarten classes. Parents of pre-k students are required to sign their children in and out of the classroom and Threet said having that located at the front of the school would be much more convenient for parents. Also listed was a new classroom wing and an auxiliary gymnasium.

Under maintenance needs, Threet said the lockers were the lockers originally installed in the 34-year-old school, as were partitions in the restrooms. There was a need for classroom furniture and classroom storage as well as painting. Fencing was needed at the football field and drainage there was also a concern, with pipes decaying resulting in sink holes forming. There also was not a water fountain in the first- and second-grade hallway, and paving was needed for the new car rider area.

At Stone Elementary, the capital items were described as a "wish list" with a metal slope roof and a new classroom wing. Maintenance items include security cameras and awnings for bus and car riders. There is a drainage issue at the school resulting in some areas having suffered from water coming into the school. There is tile cracking and a musty smell.

At Stone Memorial High School, sealing of parking lots is a bid item for this year. Roof leaks have reportedly been fixed. Other maintenance items include refinishing the gym floor and awnings over concessions and the bus areas.

Long-term capital projects include restrooms at the soccer field, an indoor facility for baseball and softball and a new classroom wing.

Director of Schools Donald Andrews thanked school personnel for taking the time to attend the meeting.

"We've got to prioritize these needs and some of these items will need professional services," he said.

The task force will meet again June 25 at 4:30 p.m. at Central Services. 

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