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School Projects Set For Plan

CUMBERLAND – The Cumberland School Board approved a list presented by Cumberland County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Amy Griffin that includes projects the school division wishes to see on the County's capital improvement plan for the 2011/2012 fiscal year through the 2014/2015 year.

The plan is updated yearly as part of the budget process and funds are allocated as the budget allows.

The school division's list is prioritized, although the consolidated maintenance department could accomplish some items on the list, Dr. Griffin noted to the School Board in October.

“What will happen is that this request will go to the County Administration…and when they are going through their budget process they will tweak this to meet their needs as well,” said Dr. Griffin. “When we meet with the Board of Supervisors this is something we can discuss with them.”

Identified on the list is the replacement of the carpet with tile flooring at Cumberland Elementary School. The anticipated price of this project is, according to Dr. Griffin, $200,000.

“That carpet has been there since 1996,” she said, “with over 700 children going through the building every day. That carpet needs to be pulled up and tile needs to be replaced.”

The second item is the football stadium grandstands at a price of $120,000.

“We do have some boards that are starting to break and Stuart (Harris) is doing a great job in maintenance of putting new ones down as it happens and making sure they are doing an inspection of the grandstands as much as possible but football grandstands is something we're going to need sometime in the future,” she added.

The roof at the Cumberland Elementary School, at the price of $497,000, had been taken off last year and is, again, being added back to the list this year, noted Dr. Griffin.

“They had gotten the roof up to par for the warranty, however the warranty is getting ready to go out at the Elementary School,” noted Dr. Griffin. “This isn't something that has be done right away but probably within in the next couple of years.”

The next listed is the transportation shop roof at a price of $38,000.

“That roof does leak and it leaks over the lift that the mechanics use for repairing buses,” added Dr. Griffin.

Another item on the list is a concession stand.

“The concession stand is something that we think between building trades, Stuart and some contracted services that we think we can pull off,” noted Griffin. “Stuart estimates the cost to be about $81,000.”

The concession stand would include bathroom, a breezeway, and a locker room on one end.

Also on the list is the regrading of the playground hill at the Elementary School.

Dr. Griffin believes this could be done next year, anyway, but she wants to be sure it was added to the list.

“If there is any cost associated with these we want to make sure it's in our request,” she said. “Since the County does our maintenance I don't want to leave it off and then there isn't money for the supplies."

The next was an installation of a security wall at the entrance of the Elementary School.

“As you know, right now, you can walk straight into the Elementary School because the office kind of sits off separate,” she said. “It's been proposed to have that security wall put up and Stuart thinks that they, the maintenance can put this wall up. So we do not have a price on that but I still want to include that and get prices on that because I don't want the cost of materials to get in the way of it being done.”

According to Chip Jones, assistant superintendent of finance and operations, he received a price of the cost of resurfacing the track.

“If you've ever been out on the track, it's uneven,” he said. “And to get the track even where it could have a track service put down that's at a cost of $160,000 and then you'll have the cost of the surface of the track and it depends on the cost of what kind of surface you want…So it's a very expensive project.”

According to Dr. Griffin, the capital improvement plan committee thought that it would be “great” for the school to be able to host its own track meets and that “it does bring in a lot of money” when ever track meets are hosted.

“You do bring dollars back to the division,” she noted about the future possibility.

The last listed was upkeep on the old pods and IT building at the old High School. The project is estimated to cost $56,000.

“Right now they are deteriorating and we need to start thinking about what we are going to do with them” she said. “If we want to preserve them for future use I think we need to put new roofs on top of them. Stuart says he can do that because he did the buildings where social services is at and he estimates the cost at $56,000.”

Does the school division expect all of these projects listed to be done right away?

No.

But this is the school division's prioritized “wish list,” noted Dr. Griffin.

“We feel that it's needed,” she added. “This is my suggested prioritized list.”

According to Dr. Griffin, the capital improvement plan committee met recently and identified projects for the school system. The School Board unanimously approved that these priorities be included in the school's capital improvement plan and submitted to the County for consideration during the upcoming budget process.

Budget Calendar

Although it seems like the actual budget approval process is months away, the school's administration actually started the budget process in September by getting input from different committees and staff members.

“Now, the principals are meeting with staff members and different parents to get input and we've already had our capital improvement committee meeting…,” said Dr. Griffin. “November will be the preliminary department budget requests that come to me.”

There will also be community meetings scheduled at the end of this month.

Those will be November 29, November 30, and December 1 where citizens will be informed and citizens will be able to give input about what they'd like to see in the budget (see related front page story).

At the December School Board meeting, there will be a time for public and School Board member input on the budget, Dr. Griffin noted.

“We don't know what's coming from the state until December, before Christmas, but we're trying to get as much input as we can before we get those numbers,” she explained.

Then in January, a draft school budget is developed and a school budget work session is usually held and then a budget draft request is then sent to the County Administrator.

Later, at the regular February School Board meeting, the School Board hears a budget presentation and then afterwards a public hearing is held after citizens have been able to see the budget and comments are heard.

During this time, a joint School Board and Board of Supervisors work session is also scheduled.

In March, the School Board will approve the proposed budget and in April the Board of Supervisors will hold their meetings and have their approval.

After the calendar was detailed, the budget calendar was unanimously approved.

According to Dr. Griffin, student input was also received through the school division's student panel, which met earlier on in the process and one additional meeting is also scheduled as far as the budget this month.