Middlesboro Elementary could get new entry doors

Published 10:42 am Thursday, April 18, 2024

The Middlesboro Board of Education discussed purchasing new security doors and equipment starting at the elementary school during Tuesday’s meeting.

Superintendent Waylon Allen said the current front doors and buzzer systems being used at the schools have been a problem.

“They’re torn up all of the time,” he said. “Right now we cannot buzz parents in at the elementary school, we have to have somebody stand there and go open the door.”

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The district has received a quote from Schiller Hardware for new doors and an entry system. MHS principal Jesse Allen explained that the initial cost was higher for those doors because a master control panel would have to be bought and installed at one of the schools or at the Central Office.

“Once you have that installed, it’s a one-time expense. If you all choose later on to add to another building —a door at a time or two or three doors at a time, you won’t have that cost again,” he said.

The current doors were installed by Baylor Commercial Doors and Allen said they were backed up on service calls and it was hard to get them to come and make repairs.

“One thing I like about this company (Schiller) looking forward to the years to come if we choose to do this, is they do banks. They take care of the safes and they do the drive-thrus,” Superintendent Allen said. “They have a tech right here in town that lives on 24th Street that can be here in a day. Let’s just do one school and make sure we like them instead of doing the whole system like we did before.”

Jesse Allen said that once the control panel is installed the cost for each door was between $1500 and $2000.

“One trip for Baylor to come work on the door is probably $500 to $750, if you can get them to come down here,” he said. “That’s the real problem.”

The new doors would also be more durable because they don’t have a mechanical handle that has to be turned for them to open.

“Barbourville and Corbin have these and they just rave about them,” Supt. Allen said. “Every bank around uses this company. I would imagine that if the banks use them they have to be good.”

No action was taken by the board on Tuesday, but the board members were all in agreement that buying the new doors seemed like a good idea.

The new inclusive playground has been installed at the Elementary School and kids are already enjoying being able to play on it.

“If you get a chance you should go out there and walk on it,” Supt. Allen said. “That soft surface for wheelchairs is really nice.”

“I look at it every night when I drive by there — It is gorgeous,” Board Chairperson Teresa Brown said.

There are plans to extend the sidewalk up to the edge of the playground to make access even easier.

“The teachers really want to wait until school’s out to do that because they don’t want to have to shut the playground down for three or four days,” Allen said.

Elementary Principal Randy Rose said a new fence will also be going up around the playground area.

“Especially because we don’t know about students in the future and what their needs might be, (if it’s not fenced in) they could possibly get away from the teachers,” he said. “It will look similar to how the preschool fence is now. It is great to have that new playground, we appreciate it.”

Allen also said he and the board would still like to recognize the Middlesboro High School cheerleaders for winning a national championship.

“It’s hard to get them all here right now because some of them play softball and run track,” he said. “We hate to recognize them when you have four or five out.”

MHS girls basketball coach Sally Adams spoke to the board about starting a third and fourth grade team for girls basketball.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s math, science, basketball or football — if you can get a kid to love it when they’re young, that’s when it’s the most important,” she said. “It’s very hard to compete with  a lot of the teams in our district and our region who have girls that have been playing together since second grade when we have girls that aren’t playing until they’re in fifth grade.”

Adams said the girls would only practice two or three days per week and play about ten games during the season. The middle school team currently plays a 15-game schedule.

“The point is to make them enjoy it, learn to love it and not burn out,” she said.

Adams added that she had talked to parents of girls who play Junior Pro basketball and there is interest in having them play for their school.

“They want to see ‘Middlesboro’ on their jerseys,” Adams said. “We’ve also started the Lady Jacket Basketball Academy and we had 14 or 15 girls who showed up. A lot of them are from Middlesboro and right now they don’t have a third and fourth grade team to play for.”

The third and fourth grade team would fall under the Middle School umbrella and would play other third and fourth grade teams, usually before the fifth and sixth grade game.

Adams requested a $1,000 stipend for an assistant coach and said uniforms and equipment would be provided by the middle school.

Board member Rian Johnson said her daughters have been going to the basketball academy.

“They have come home so excited about it and they are learning things,” she said. “If we don’t start building that culture at the elementary and middle school it’s so hard to have that school spirit that we are missing a lot of in our high students. It’s building that culture of ‘We are the Middlesboro Yellow Jackets and we’re dang proud of it’ and I love that.”

Johnson added that she thought adding the third and fourth grade team was a great opportunity for the kids.

No action was taken by the board on Tuesday, but the board members appeared to have a positive view of starting the program.

Jim Kennedy gave a progress report on construction projects. The only current project is the high school Science labs and he believes the contractors will be able to have that finished earlier than October first.

“We’re working to try and get that done as soon as possible,” he said.

He added that the legislative session has ended and the state budget that passed includes a significant amount of additional money through equalization for building projects.

“What that equates to is probably $2 million of additional bonding capacity for Middlesboro,” he said. “You have two projects: the canopy from the Arts Building to the Middle School and the High School and also repairs on the tennis courts. You would have more than enough bonding capacity to do those if the board wishes to get the architect involved and pursue those two projects.”

Brown said some parents and grandparents had asked about adding lights to the tennis courts along with the resurfacing.

Kennedy said he felt there would be enough funding available to do that, if the board chose to.

Board member Bill Johnson said the resurfacing of the tennis courts and the awnings need to happen.

“If we find out we have the bonding capacity to do that and the board chose to, it would be best to bond it all together,” Kennedy said.

He said he would move forward with getting bids on the canopy and resurfacing and once those bids are in, the board can consider whether to go ahead with installing lights at the tennis courts.

“If we start now, we should be able to bid those in July or August,” Kennedy said.

In other business, the board:

— Approved paying First State Bank Series 2015 Energy Conservation Revenue Bond with a principal of $55,000 and interest payment of $18,087.50 for a total payment of $73,087.50.

— Approved using Cloyd & Associates, PSC as financial auditor for the fiscal year 2023-24.

— Approved raising the meal reimbursement on the expense voucher to $75 per day effective July 1, 2024.