Another step closer: BV board accepts bid for site work on athletic complex
The Berryville School District has accepted a bid for the site work on its new sports complex.
The Berryville School Board voted at its meeting on Monday, Dec. 18, to accept a bid of $592,500 from L.E. Davis Construction for earthwork, storm drainage and site utilities for the new sports complex.
Steven Elliott, president of Lewis Architects Engineers, and Jason Vines, pre-construction manager for Nabholz Construction, recommended the board accept the bid.
“We invited seven contractors to bid on the early site package for the athletic complex,” Vines said. “We also advertised the bid in the Berryville and Harrison newspapers and statewide. We spread a wide net to get bids.”
He continued, “We met with bidders on-site this month to make sure they understood the scope of the project and got to see the site and know what’s there. We made sure they were very clear in what they were bidding for and on the scope of the work.”
Four bids were received for the project, Vines said, and Nabholz recommended the board award the contract to L.E. Davis Construction.
The board also voted to approve the 2018 Facilities Master Plan as presented by Dr. Charles Stein of CStein, LLC. Stein has advised the board on the timelines and guidelines for the Arkansas Division of Public School Academic Facilities and Transportation’s Partnership Program, which is being used to fund the construction of the new high school and middle school additions.
The next step in the process, he said, is to submit the master plan to the state on Feb. 1, 2018.
“The master plan lays out your overall school district needs and strategies and lays out partnership projects,” Stein said. “It assesses the needs in your school district and has your strategies for addressing those needs.”
The main two needs addressed in the master plan, he said, are the new high school and the middle school additions, such as a new cafeteria and media center. While the district has been approved for approximately $9.6 million in partnership money for the new high school, he said they will learn if they have been approved for additional funding for the middle school projects on May 1, 2018.
“The actual funds available are around $60 million, and the funds needed are around $45 million for partnership projects this year,” Stein said. “So in my view, the funds are a sure thing.”
Also at the meeting, high school and middle school administrators updated the boards on the pros and cons of the new Bobcat Time and seven-period day, which were approved by the board last year.
High school principal Donnel Armstrong said her staff feels Bobcat Time is going very well and has limited the number of distractions during the school day.
“We’re not interrupting class time throughout the day,” she said, “because now we have clubs meet on Friday during Bobcat Time.”
She said Bobcat Time offers time for school pictures, discipline, tutoring, make-up work and one-on-one meetings between students and their teachers and counselors.
Special education teacher Rachel Garden said the special education department has been able to see its students more and monitor their grades better because of Bobcat Time.
“I’ve talked to other special education teachers in the high school,” she said, “and we all feel that with Bobcat Time and being able to monitor our students’ grades a little bit better that we’ve actually seen a decrease in failing grades conferences. We’re still holding some but not nearly as many.”
Gardner continued, “This nine weeks, I only had five. In the past, I’ve had anywhere from 10 to 15. For me, that’s a huge change. Students are able to go and work with teachers, and we’re able to gain some more information we can use at their annual reviews and we’re getting to know them better. It’s made a huge difference.”
Counselor Tiffaney Atkinson said higher level students have enjoyed the independent learning time and have been able to use it to speak with counselors about scholarship opportunities or make up work for class.
“It gives them the opportunity to take care of things they wouldn’t normally have time to do,” she said.
Armstrong said one con is that anything the high school needs to address tends to get shoved into Bobcat Time.
“My teachers are a little overwhelmed with all of the things we’re trying to accomplish in that 30-minute block of time,” she said. “We’re checking grades, doing remediation, having club meetings and mentoring students.”
The seven-period day, Armstrong said, has limited the choices students have for classes but also holds them more accountable.
“There’s not as much room for them to fail or take classes they’re not interested in,” she said. “Teachers have fewer classes to prep for, and we’ve been able to reduce 1.5 teacher positions as a result, which has hopefully saved the district a little money.”
Middle school principal John McClellan reported similar pros and cons, saying Bobcat Time has provided time for students to receive remediation during the school day. One downside at the middle school level, he said, is that some students have to take a gym class or art class during that time for one nine-week period to meet state requirements.
“The seven-period day is a little tougher for middle school because of the state requirements,” he said. “We’re still addressing our students having to choose athletics, vocal music, band or gifted and talented seminar because they’re aren’t enough electives available in seventh and eighth grade.”
Also at the meeting, the board voted to approve the December fuel purchase from Ozark Mountain Energy for $14,821.82.
The board also voted to accept the resignation of cafeteria manager Wendy Holman effective June 11 and voted to approve adding Vivian Broseus, Casey Parton, Elizabeth Pritchard and Patricia Worley to the substitute list for the cafeteria for the remainder of the 2017-18 school year.
The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15, in the Intermediate Cafetorium.