The Clarke County School Board took time out last night to recognize outstanding leadership from its school principals. The School Board also continued to check-off school design details in hopes of maintaining a mid-summer ground breaking for the new building.
With Governor Bob McDonnell’s designation of March 8 -12 as Virginia, “Principals Appreciation Week,” Superintendent Dr. Michael Murphy used last night’s meeting to praise each CCPS school leader for their excellence and leadership. Murphy characterized the principal’s job as the most challenging role in the school system adding, “Being a high school principal is the hardest of all.”
Murphy and the School Board honored five principals in all, Johnson-Williams’s Evan Robb, Berryville-Cooley’s Stephen Geyer, CC High School’s John Werner, and Boyce Elementary’s Susan Catlett. Murphy also recognized the important leadership contribution of Jay Lucas. Although Lucas does not hold the title of “principal,”,Murphy said Lucas’s role as Administrator at the F&M Center plays an integral part of CCPS’s success in helping kids stay in school and graduate on time.
The evening also provided the School Board with updates on a range of topics. High School Principal Werner presented the new CCHS course catalog. In addition to several course changes, Werner described the school’s adoption of “PowerSchool,” a student course scheduling software system. According to Werner, CCHS students will soon be able to create their next-year course schedule through PowerSchool. Not only will the software system make the scheduling process easier for school staff, students will have a final version of their course schedule for the coming year before leaving school for summer vacation.
CCHS’s DECA student marketing and management organization provided an overview its many student benefits imploring the School Board to maintain funding support in the coming year. Concerned Citizens of Clarke County, a volunteer group committed to continuance of advanced coursework for CCHS students, noted that CCCC had raised over $25K over the past year. CCCC funds have allowed all 12 CCHS International Baccalaureate instructors to receive updated IB training and funded 23 IB/Advanced Placement student scholarships. The CCHS Athletic Department demonstrated its newly acquired electrotherapy machine.
Dr. Murphy noted that in spite of school cancellations caused by this years Arctic conditions, CCPS are not yet in danger of extending the school year.
Stefani Bell, the School Board student representative, asked the Board to consider moving the Curriculum Committee meeting to a time slot that would allow students to attend.
In construction news, the School Board rejected Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates (CRA) request to approve its 90% design document after CRA was unable to certify that the design was, in fact, 90% complete. CRA also presented a revised plan to address cramped work space concerns in the new school’s food service area. CRA’s suggested design solution involves elimination of a large pizza oven and reconfiguration of a structural wall. CRA floated a price of $7,500 for the changes but there was no formal agreement from the School Board for the change.
Last week the School Board unanimously approved $14,500 in legal fees for counsel Joseph Luchini. Luchini is charging the School Board a flat rate of $12K to review the construction bid documents and up to $2,500 for a legal opinion authorizing Chairperson Bouffault to act as the Board’s ‘authorized owner’s representative.”
Rejecting a “green” parking approach, the School Board opted away from a gravel parking option for overflow parking, a move that would have spared rain water from storm water management system. Allowing storm water runoff to naturally soak back into the soil, when feasible, is considered a “green” building technique. The School Board rejected the “green” option citing safety and aesthetic concerns. However, the Board did opt to route nearly three acres of storm runoff that will be generated from building rooftops into grass-covered areas when possible.
Fire flow concerns remained cloudy. Chairperson Bouffault reported that any schematic change to the proposed hydraulic system would trigger a permit review by the Virginia Department of Health and thus delay the anticipated construction start date for the new school. Yet, the most recent design documents submitted by PHR&A estimated the cost of the fire flow design at $479K, over $200K more than previous estimates. The current design, as submitted to Virginia Department of Health and other agencies, requires replenishing 240K gallons of water over a two-hour period into Berryville’s water tower in the event of a fire. An alternative design relying more directly on ground tanks may be possible but would almost certainly result in a new review process thus delaying the project.
The School Board unanimously approved invoices for its consultants; Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates for $207K and Gannett-Fleming for $9K.