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Leaders discuss state of schools

Local leaders in Franklin County gathered Thursday morning to hear presentations from superintendents on the state of the county’s two school systems.

This was the second time the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce has hosted the State of the Schools event.

“I think it’s extremely important that our business leaders and community members are able to hear, on at least an annual basis, what all is happening in our schools,” said Russellville City Schools Superintendent Heath Grimes.

Grimes and Franklin County Schools Superintendent Greg Hamilton both presented on the financial status of the schools, capital projects and different successes in the district.

Hamilton also presented on several of the precautions FCS is taking to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“I am very proud of our students, and I can’t say enough good things about what my teachers and administrators have done,” Hamilton said. “We wouldn’t be where we are nine weeks in if it weren’t for our administrators and our faculty.”

Hamilton said there is a capital project going on at each of Franklin County’s 13 schools.

Hamilton said air conditioning is being put in all gymnasiums that did not already have it, and buses are also receiving air conditioning.

Red Bay Elementary received security fencing and restrooms on the playground, and Red Bay High School has construction underway on the new agriculture and home economics building.

Belgreen has renovations underway on athletic fields; East Franklin Junior High is receiving an expansion to the office area; and Tharptown recently completed the new cafeteria, classrooms and storm shelter.

Hamilton said future projects will include a new mental health services program, UV lighting installed in the duct system, an addition to the Phil Campbell Elementary library, classroom additions at EFJH and a new concession building for baseball and softball at Tharptown.

At RCS, Grimes said the biggest capital project currently underway is the two-phase project to add a new building to Russellville High School and expand the career tech building.

RHS is also receiving work to the softball field, a new jumbotron for the football stadium, new HVAC units in the cafeteria and new LED lighting in the fine arts building.

RCS recently purchased a new building for Pre-K on Lawrence Street. West Elementary has a new roof, and Russellville Elementary has undergone drainage work.

Russellville Middle School received new charging stations in the library and new flooring in the office and media center.

The RMS gym has a new sound system, new roof, bleacher repairs and a new top coat to the gym flooring.

“We are really excited about all of the work being done,” Grimes said. “Russellville City Schools continues to succeed and be in a great state.”