The long-awaited construction at the high school has started.
Assistant superintendent Bonnie Knight told the board of education Tuesday night that site preparation work for the new three-story addition is under way. The site has been fenced off and the state fire marshal has approved the fencing. Because of the construction equipment, many of the doors in the gym had to be blocked off, which will restrict the use of the gym to 400 people at a time during construction.
The new ag center parking lot across the road from the board office and freshman academy has been completed, providing an additional 116 parking spaces for students, parent and community use during events at the schools. Students may also need to use the space during school hours for some phases of the high school construction, Knight noted, though interim principal George Bullock does not plan to have any daily student parking there at this time.
A new football field house with a concession area and restrooms is also in the works with construction to begin in early 2013.
Assistant superintendent Dr. Sherrie Gibney-Sherman announced that Ila and Comer Elementary schools were named among the “Highest Performing Schools” in 2012, which means that as Title I schools, they are both among the top five percent of schools in the state over the past five years. Colbert Elementary was named a “High Progress School,” which means it was among the top 10 percent in the state showing improvement over the last three years.
In other news, the school system is implementing “Bring Your Own Technology” in a pilot program at the middle and high school. A math and science classroom at the middle school and 10 classrooms at the high school are piloting the program with students bringing in their technology for use in the classroom, including smart phones, tablets, e-readers, iPods and other devices. School officials say this is a way to use technology in the classroom without the school system having to purchase and maintain such devices. All students, and their parents, who participate in the program must sign an agreement concerning the use of the devices.