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Fayetteville school board approves more than $13 million in projects

by Mary Jordan | February 26, 2021 at 7:42 a.m.
The Fayetteville School Board listens to a presentation by Athletic Director Steve Janski during its meeting in the Fayetteville High School cafeteria on Thursday, July 16, 2020. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/DAVE PEROZEK)

FAYETTEVILLE -- The School Board on Thursday approved more than $13.8 million in building repairs and upgrades for district buildings.

The board voted 6-0 in support of the work.

Keaton Smith, board member, was the only dissenting vote, expressing concerns over the addition of six classrooms at Happy Hollow Elementary School.

Some 16 buildings will receive repairs and upgrades by Nabholz Construction out of Rogers, according to supporting documents.

The level of work varies and includes drainage work at Butterfield, Vandergriff and Holcomb elementary schools, facade repairs and replacing the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system at at Asbell Elementary School and installing a kitchen, upgrading restrooms and updating the plumbing at Agee-Lierly Life Preparation Services Center, according to supporting documents.

The need for the work was determined following a facility conditions assessment the district did in 2018, said Megan Duncan, Support Services associate superintendent. All schools in the district received feedback concerning recommended or necessary work at that time, she said.

The projects will be implemented in waves with the final work scheduled to be complete in May 2023, Duncan said.

The board likewise voted 7-0 to approve a $5.2 million price for work at Ramay and Woodland middle schools.

The price for work at Ramay is more than $3.3 million and is about $1.7 million at Woodland, according to supporting documents.

The overall work at Woodland includes installing a track, painting the exterior of the building, creating an American Disability Act-approved access ramp and upgrades and updates throughout the school, according to Duncan.

Work at Ramay will include replacing the school's current elevator with one designed to accommodate students with special needs, adding windows, cafeteria upgrades and a covered entry way and elevator installation for the gym, Duncan said.

The district will seek city approval to begin work at Woodland and Ramay in the spring, Duncan said. Work at both schools will be completed by December.

In other news, John L Colbert, superintendent provided several administrative updates to the board.

The last day of school will be June 2, he said, noting the change is due to three snow days the district experienced the week prior.

The district's efforts to get staff vaccinated against the covid-19 virus are going well, Colbert said. Some 80% of the district's staff will have received their second vaccination as of today.

"We just feel real good," Colbert said of the district's progress.

The superintendent said Jay Dostal, Fayetteville High School principal, has submitted a proposal for the school's commencement.

Ceremonies may be held over the course of two days from May 14-15, Colbert said.

The district hopes to make the final decision about what graduation will look like prior to spring break.

"I know parents are anxious," Colbert said. "There's a lot we have to consider.

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