Maintenance of Mason County Schools discussed at meeting
by Nathan Jeffers
POINT PLEASANT — At Tuesday evening’s special business meeting of the Mason County Board of Education, two reports on the maintenance and the current projects being completed before start of the new school year were presented to the members of board.
Facilities Director Ruth Caplinger spoke to the board on bleachers and gym floors for Mason County Schools, stating that all bleachers have to be inspected once every other year. Caplinger specifically mentioned bleachers at Wahama High School, saying they have been inspected and will last for at least another school year. Caplinger continued, saying all bleachers at Mason County Schools were considered to be safe with the exception of bleachers at Point Pleasant Intermediate School (PPIS). It was stated at the meeting that the PPIS bleachers will be torn down and there is work in progress in replacing them.
Caplinger also spoke on the gym floors at the three county high schools, saying the floors have been refinished and are ready for when school begins. The gyms include two gyms at Wahama High School, two gyms at Point Pleasant High School, and one gym at Hannan High School.
Speaking on other maintenance needs and concerns was Maintenance Director Cameron Moffett, who updated the board on current projects and future maintenance needs. A specific concern among the board members was the replacement of several roofs of various school buildings around the county. Schools specifically mentioned needing new roofs included Roosevelt Elementary and Ashton Elementary Schools.
It was stated a new roof for these facilities would cost around $1 million, and while additional funding is available to help pay for the new roofs, Superintendent Suzanne Dickens stated it cannot be applied for while Mason County Schools is still in debt. Dickens contiuned saying that is one particular reason the board is working diligently to decrease and eliminate the deficit. At the end of the most recent school year, it was reported Mason County Schools had a deficit of $650, 000, which was down from a previous deficit of $2.8 million.
Caplinger stated over the last few school years, the roofs on several of the buildings had been patched when there were previous leaking issues. Caplinger also added that when new leaking issues arose they were not the same as the previous issues, stating the continuing problem was not the patch jobs failing but new leaks arising in the old roofs.
Board member Paul Sayre also brought up a concern of the lighting fixtures in the gym at Wahama High School, stating there was in incident where a lighting fixture had fallen while there were students present in the gym. Sayre asked if it was possible to make sure the lighting fixtures were inspected before the beginning of the school year as to avoid the possibility of a similar, and potentially devastating, situation. Moffett ensured the members of the board that this concern will be made a priority.
The board also adjourned into executive session to discuss property matters, and then again to discuss the superintendent’s goals, which Dickens stated were not finalized and were still in progress.
In addition to Superintendent Dickens, board members present were Thomas Nunnery, Randy Searls, Greg Fowler, Paul Sayre, and Dale Shobe.
(Note: More on the approved agenda items from this meeting will appear in a later edition.)
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