City schools continuing construction on buildings
HAZARD — Roofing issues are continuing to plague the buildings of Hazard Independent Schools. After the discovery of problems with the roof at Roy G. Eversole Elementary School, a series of leaks and water damage at the Hazard Field House is now forcing district officials to replace that roof on top of the work being done at all three schools.
The Hazard Independent School Board met at Roy G. Eversole Thursday to kick off their tour of the schools. They will visit all three schools this month and discuss test scores, education, and construction. Both Roy G. Eversole on Broadway and Hazard Middle School in Walkertown are undergoing major renovation projects.
During October’s meeting, the board was informed by architect Joseph Clark that the contractor had found significant issues with the roof while doing the work at Roy G. Eversole Elementary. The options at the time were to make repairs to the roof so that construction could continue, or replace the failing roof since the warranty was nearly expired. However, after reviewing the contract with the current building contractor, they no longer had the option to replace the roof.
The board voted to go ahead with the repairs to finish the other work and revisit the roof issues later.
Another roofing issue that the board is going to have to take care of is the leaking roof at the high school’s field house. Water has damaged some of the rafters and leaked into the doorway. Despite being unplanned and not having money allocated for this project earlier in the year, the board had to approve a proposal for the work. The cost of the project was not disclosed during the meeting.
Work has also begun on the new energy efficient heating and air conditioning system at the high school and has already gone ahead of schedule, according to a discussion during Thursday’s meeting. Classrooms are being moved one at a time to install new duct work, but one wing could be completed as early as December.
The board also approved two waivers from the guidelines for building construction and renovation. The Kentucky Department of Education requires that art classrooms have a north-facing window and patio space. Based on the layout of Hazard Middle School and space constraints, the classrooms will not be able to have north facing windows or a patio. The school board approved this wavier and it will be sent on to KDE.
The second waiver at the middle school required for construction is one allowing the principal’s office and guidance office to be in the same area and share a waiting room.
The board also approved a lease for tennis courts at the Hazard Pavilion that can be used during tennis season. This lease will give Hazard the right to the courts during this season for the next five years with the option for an extension.
Following all of the board items, the principal of Roy G. Eversole Elementary, Eddie Whitaker, and Hazard Assessment Coordinator Nathan Jones discussed the test scores for the school. The new accountability testing model from the state includes a complicated scoring system that compiles the test scores into categories that are all ranked among the state.
The elementary had the lowest scores in the district, putting them in the 55th percentile. While this is still about the state average, it is considerably lower than the other schools in the district.
Through data collected during the testing, school officials learned that the lowest achieving students tended to be the students receiving free and reduced lunch or those classified as homeless by state standards. The district has recently received a grant that allowed them to hire homeless student coordinators that help in identifying students living with non-parents or having financial difficulties. They believe that these coordinators matched with intervention classes that help students in the areas where they may be struggling will bring up the school’s over all rank and test scores.
The board expressed thanks to the school for making these changes to reach all students and also expressed concern over the number of students in this category and how they performed.
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