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Construction progresses at FC schools

Franklin County Superintendent Greg Hamilton updated Board of Education members at their meeting Feb. 25 about the progress and problems with construction at several Franklin County Schools.

Three Franklin County schools are undergoing renovations: Tharptown, Vina and Red Bay.

Tharptown is down to one mobile unit, which Hamilton said is being sent back to the manufacturer. Two double-wides will be moved behind the elementary gym for high school use.

“It’s a different look on the Tharptown Elementary side for sure,” Hamilton said. “We have seen a lot of progress on Tharptown since we began a year ago, but we still have several punch items.”

Vina High School, Hamilton said, is experiencing a setback on progress with the new science building after a fire at the plant producing the countertops for the labs.

Hamilton said the equipment for the science building is now not expected to arrive until mid-April. He said there are other options for places to purchase the countertops, but it would be better to have the project take a small delay since the alternate countertops would cost an additional $3,000.

Construction at Red Bay High School has also seen a delay because of weather and a change in the plans for the building.

Hamilton said the building is now going to be built an additional 10 feet away from the cafeteria and the agriculture shop to create more of a courtyard feel.

The building commission has approved this change, and construction will begin on this as the weather allows. Hamilton said despite the setback, he does not foresee there being an issue completing the building in the 210-day contract.

The board also approved a resolution opposing the bill anticipated to go through the state legislature changing the school calendar. The resolution states the Franklin County Board of Education support for local school board to retain local authority over their school calendars.

“It is just not feasible the way they are wanting to do it,” Hamilton said. “That is just something they need to let us handle because we know better as far as our kids and the calendar.”

Several new hires will join the Franklin County Schools system, with 12 additional hires being made for the TRACKS program in the fall.

Vina will add one program aide and one aide, Phil Campbell will add one teacher, and East Franklin will add two teachers. Red Bay will add three teachers, one aide and one site coordinator, and Tharptown will add two teachers.

There were 17 new teacher substitutes approved for the 2020 year. The board also accepted the resignation of the special education teacher at Tharptown High School and two bus drivers, one from Phil Campbell and one from Belgreen.

The board approved the hire of two temporary bus drivers for Belgreen and a special education teacher, a special education aide for Red Bay Elementary School and a special education teacher for Tharptown High School.

The next Franklin County Board of Education meeting will be March 24 immediately after the 5 p.m. work session.