COVINGTON —The Covington Board of Education approved a contract to build a connecting corridor between the high school and the K-8 building by a vote of 4-1. Board member Alex Reck voted against the contract.
“Constructing the corridor and the central office area will go a long way toward completing the building project that was started in 2015,” Superintendent Gene Gooding said. “Moving to a one-campus district has allowed us to use our district’s resources in a much more efficient manner. Completing the corridor will provide our students with a safe and secure way to travel back and forth between the buildings as they take advantage of these resources.”
The project was awarded to Brumbaugh Construction for a total cost of $656,200. Gooding explained that the corridor and central office project will be funded by money that was budgeted in the district’s permanent improvement fund.
“Some community members were under the impression that we would need to raise additional funds to complete this project. That is not the case,” Gooding said.
Reck did not comment on why he voted against the contract during the meeting, but he has previously spoken out in other meetings about the added cost of constructing the board office within the corridor.
During their meeting in December, the board looked at the costs of including the board offices in the corridor. For just the corridor, the estimated cost was $335,000; for the corridor and the board offices, the estimated cost was $601,000; and for the corridor, board offices, and extra storage or classroom space, the estimated cost was $638,000.
Reck spoke against spending the extra $266,000 to $303,000 to include the board offices and extra space. The other board members expressed interest in moving forward with the plan that included the board offices and extra storage or classroom space. Reck stated he thought there would be cheaper options available, including purchasing a house off campus. Other board members noted that they thought those costs were bargain costs of getting the board’s office onsite at the schools and that there was a benefit to being on campus at the schools. One board member noted that a previous estimate had been $450,000.
The project approved Wednesday evening includes the construction of the connecting corridor, the board office, a restroom for the board office, and LED lighting. The bathroom added a cost of $20,500 to the project, and the LED lighting added a cost of $800.
Also during the board’s meeting, they approved the purchase of Dell Chromebooks, Apple iPads, carts, and iPad cases for the One-to-One Program at a cost not to exceed $157,400. The amount was originally $166,914, but Gooding noted that District Network Coordinator Levi Smith managed to save the district approximately $9,500.
“Apple decided to be more competitive against the Chromebooks,” which resulted in a reduction in the cost, Smith said,
“We are very pleased to be able to provide our students with this great 21st century learning opportunity,” Gooding said. “Our students will now be able to do research, complete practice problems, access their digital curriculum, complete and turn in projects, and much more without having to wait for a computer lab or computer cart available. This upgrade in technology will provide our teachers with a great instructional tool that will help them with their goal of providing the best possible education for our students.”
At the end of their meeting, Gooding also updated the board and community that the acceptance of the donation of the community youth ball diamond from Finfrock Construction Co., Inc. will be on the agenda for their next meeting in April. The ball diamond will be one of the amenities for the former Covington Elementary School site. The total cost of the proposed ball field is estimated at $58,185, which Finfrock Construction would donate to the district by completing the work themselves along with some help from subcontractors.
The board ended their meeting by back going into executive session to discuss personnel. They took no action following their executive session.
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