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Fort Frye BOE approves purchases

Dr. Richard Murray, left, executive director of the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools, recognizes Fort Frye Superintendent Dr. Stephanie Starcher with the CORAS President’s Award Thursday during a Fort Frye Board of Education meeting. (Photo Provided)

BEVERLY — Fort Frye Local Schools may be out of the academic year, but Thursday the district’s board of education blessed $887,526.50 in improvements to meet a tight deadline before classes start in August.

“I know it’s hard to think about how much money that is and especially right now when things are so expensive and we just had to make those shifts starting out the year,” said Board Member Johnna Zalmanek after the meeting. “But we have to spend the federal funds in a way that most impacts the kids.”

Treasurer Stacey Bolden explained that the purchases are predominately funded out of the district’s allocation of the ESSER funding from federal coronavirus relief packages.

Superintendent Stephanie Starcher explained that much of the expenditures are to prepare for the shift of sixth grade into the high school building and the creation of separate pods for the middle school students away from high school students in the northern wing of the Beverly building, plus already approved work to add preschool space at Beverly-Center Elementary.

“We are renovating a locker room into a preschool classroom and now we’ll have two preschools in the district,” she said. “The preschool completion date is supposed to be by the end of July to get our preschool licensing through the state to complete.”

Major expenditures

¯ HVAC for middle/high school: $707,909.

The board unanimously approved the acceptance of a bid from Dynamix Energy Services of Columbus for upgrades to the district’s facilities for energy savings out of the heating, venting, and air conditioning systems at a price not to exceed $707,909.

“In all of these projects, it’s been more difficult to secure supplies,” explained the superintendent.

The project is estimated to see completion by mid-August.

¯ General construction contract for middle/high school: $114,000.

Gutknecht Construction, with offices both in Columbus and Athens, was awarded the bid.

“One huge space that was used for a study hall will now be where three math classrooms are side-by-side,” Starcher gave as an example, noting other work includes adding two more single restrooms.

The project is estimated to see completion by mid-August.

¯ Electrical contract for middle/high school: $22,600.

Davis, Pickering and Company Inc. was accepted for the electrical work required at a price not to exceed $22,600.

“We need receptacles added,” Starcher explained. “And at the end of the HVAC project we’ll be fully air conditioned and that big price includes engineering for electrical upgrades in the rooms despite removing many of the window units we’ll no longer need.

The project is estimated to see completion by mid-August.

Other expenses also blessed by the board included:

¯ Property transfer with the village: Free.

The board voted to accept the return of the tennis court and basketball court behind the Beverly library.

“The district used to own the tennis court and basketball court behind the library, but in the late 1990s it was transferred to the village for the village to do upkeep and maintenance,” said Starcher.

But now, the school district will be looking at repairs and creating a recess area for middle school while keeping the assets open to the public for use in the evening.

“The village had condemned the tennis court,” said Starcher.

¯ Van purchase: $43,017.50.

With a unanimous vote, the board approved the purchase of a 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan with a BraunAbility side entry from Steve’s Van and Accessories Unlimited of Marietta for $43,017.50.

Bolden noted the purchase is funded out of the general fund.

“We need more vehicles that are capable of taking students that are using wheelchairs,” added Starcher, explaining in the board meeting that the district was operating only one reliable wheelchair-accesible vehicle and next year will require opposite routes for students.

Other business

Dr. Richard Murray, executive director of the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools, recognized Starcher with the CORAS President’s Award on Thursday during the meeting.

“And we can hug,” he said, raising his hands and arms past the handshake in recognition. “Because COVID is over.”

The board also approved supplemental contracts for coaches, and leaders in gifted programming, teacher-based-team leaders, electives, career readiness, trauma-informed, and Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) and continuing education for three staff.

Transfers of Elizabeth Curry (formerly sixth-grade social studies and science) to seventh-grade math and Chad Ross (formerly elementary physical education) to sixth-grade social studies and science were also approved.

In Ross’s place, the board approved Zack Cantrell, from Coshocton, to be hired for a limited one-year contract at a rate of $36,475 for the physical education position for kindergarten through middle school.

The board is next scheduled to meet on July 29 at Lowell Elementary at 6 p.m.

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