Interim COO Jason Rogers informed the Liberty County Board of Education Tuesday during a work session, that the renovations to Bradwell Institute, including the gym, will not be completed in time for the beginning of basketball season. The completion date, according to Rogers, will be pushed back to February 2019—instead of the original November 2018 date.
“Everything in regards to demolition is pretty much wrapping up at this point,” Rogers said. “We actually have the construction permit now too. There was a backlog in the state’s Fire Marshal office, but good news is we’re good to go to install the new types of construction.”
The Early Childhood Education program will be housed at Bradwell, Rogers said. Currently, the school system is in the process of receiving industry certification.
One obstacle, Rogers continued, has indirectly been the gym’s floor. Once the floor is delivered, it must be acclimated for a period of several weeks before being installed, he said. Then, the flooring must acclimate with the HVAC system running, which is currently not installed either.
“With the tariffs, there’s extremely long lead times with that structural equipment in regards to HVAC,” Rogers said. “Because of the backup, it’s going to cause a delay in the gym flooring installation.”
This delay has pushed the deadline back, Rogers continued. In regards to that, Superintendent Dr. Franklin Perry and Rogers will meet to develop contingency measures, he said. The plans will remain for a worst-case scenario, which is a February 2019 completion date, Rogers said.
“We’ll look at the whole picture, look at all available gyms, and we’ll come up with something,” Perry said, in an effort to reassure the board. The BoE’s chair, Lily Baker, expressed disappointment with the timeline for Bradwell’s renovations.
“I’m disappointed they gave us a time, and now it’s changed,” Baker said. “We were assured this would be finished. Traveling puts the students at a disadvantage.”
Rogers accounted the delays to unforeseen circumstances during demolition, causing setbacks in the renovations. However, he said the plan is to do everything possible to accommodate the students.
Future projects include interior improvements at Button Gwinnett Elementary, Snelson Golden Middle School, and Lewis Frasier Middle School. The school system will continue upgrades at both Bradwell and Liberty County High Schools, including track and field improvements, parking and paving updates, and the addition of HVAC systems to softball locker rooms, Rogers said.
Other schoolboard business included the approval of board training with Carl Vinson Institute, Dr. Perry’s evaluation date, and inspection and testing services.
Whitaker Laboratories was approved to provide the required testing during the construction at Bradwell. Rogers said there are multiple tests that an outside entity must conduct, in accordance to the City of Hinesville’s laws that contractors cannot do. Whitaker Laboratories bid was $13,560. The lab will conduct upwards of 32 tests during the construction phase, he said.
The board will participate in training provided by the Carl Vinson Institute in two separate phases from January through June 2019. The Carl Vinson Institute proposal states the training is meant to deliver school board and school governance team training, board evaluation, and mediation/arbitration.
Phase one includes a two-day retreat that will leave members equipped with a framework for designing dialogues, facilitation skills to convene, lead and participate in difficult conversations with other board members, according to the proposal.
Phase two consists of monthly superintendent and board-building sessions, scheduled after work sessions, or prior to board meetings. Rogers said that sessions focus on topics like onboarding for new board members and standards for effective governance.
The training received approval from three board members. District 2 board member Carolyn Carter abstained from voting, citing previous experience as a reason for not participating in the training sessions.
“After a meeting with schoolboard attorney Phil Hartley, Dr. Perry and Chair Baker, Mr. Hartley agreed I am not required to take the training,” Carter said. “Since I have taken 83 hours of training by the Georgia School Boards Association, and I have four years of doctoral studies, and we have documented that it addresses the directives set forth by Advanced Ed.”“I was hoping that we as a board could come together and do training together,” Baker said. “We have three new board members.” The training is set to begin in January 2019. The board will evaluate the superintendent at the Feb. 26, 2019 work session.