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School system summer projects underway
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 Ashley Haynes, project manager for the new elementary school under construction on Salem Road, updated the Board of Education with the building's progress at Tuesday night's board meeting.

"We're excited to say that we're up and running since last month," Haynes said.

She reported the crew of Carroll Daniel Construction has poured footings and slabs are scheduled for pouring this week.

Haynes said the crew hopes to start on the foundation wall by the end of July.

"By this time next month it should start standing up," Haynes said, "and when people are driving by, it will start to look like something."

When asked, Haynes estimated the building costs of a two-story school with only one exterior roof will cost the system 5 to 10 percent less than a single story school and save money with heating and cooling.

She said recent showers have not delayed work except for maybe a few five minute breaks.

"Good," said board member Ricky Corley, "because we desperately need that school."

Associate Superintendent for Administration Deborah Robertson also reported on the completion or near completion of all the system's summer maintenance projects.

Parking projects at Fairview, Palmer-Stone and Ficquett elementary schools have been completed. Fairview now has an additional 26 parking spaces, Palmer-Stone has an additional 15 and Ficquett has approximately 30-40 spaces in the new gravel lot.

Seven elementary school gym HVAC units have received final inspection. Robertson anticipates the remaining inspections at East Newton, Ficquett, Livingston, Porterdale and Palmer-Stone will be completed before the first day of class.

Roofing projects at Palmer-Stone and Crossroads Psychoeducational Center are complete. East Newton and Heard-Mixon projects should be completed no later than July 23.

Other projects include installing and setting up 15 new trailers, servicing all kitchen refrigeration equipment, painting, replacing certain floor coverings and numerous other small work orders.

In other news from Tuesday's board meeting:

• Open house hours for individual schools have been set for July 26 as follows: elementary schools 3-5 p.m., middle schools 4-6 p.m. and high schools 5-7 p.m.

• School agendas will not be available to students on the first day of school. Walsworth Publishing previously printed the county's school agendas. The company was quickly bought out by School Date Books. The system was notified of the buy out on June 28. The proposed delivery date of the agendas is Aug. 6. Board Chairman Johnny Smith expressed his desire to work with a different company next year.

• Newton High School's Business and Computer Science program will receive a $15,000 grant to pursue industry re-certification more advanced than what is currently being offered.

• The first official home game between Newton and Eastside High is set for 7 p.m. Aug. 31.

• Eastside's 2007 valedictorian Renee Roesel and Newton's 2007 valedictorian Jay Lanners have been designated as finalists for the Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship. They are eligible for a $1,500 scholarship for college tuition.

• The board will host an informational meeting at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 23 to discuss how federal funding for special education will be allocated to students enrolled in the home school programs in the county in accordance with the 2004 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The system has decided funding will support speech and language therapy.