Special School Board Meeting & Preliminary Data from Facility Needs Assessment

Post date: May 17, 2016 5:30:12 PM

The Yancey County Board of Education held a special meeting on Monday, May 16, 2016, to hear a preliminary report of the Facilities Needs Assessment from Architectural Design Studio (ADS) Architect Mike Cox and design staff member Amy Dowty. The meeting was recessed and relocated to the upper meeting room of the public library to accommodate several members of the public who attended the meeting to hear the preliminary data and add input.

A February 29th joint meeting of the Yancey County Commissioners and Board of Education resulted in a contract between Yancey County Schools and ADS to complete a Facilities Needs Assessment of the six elementary schools. Particular attention was given to the five oldest elementary schools in the county, some of which are the oldest in the state.

“All of us are proud of our community schools and the heritage that comes with knowing that our children are walking the same halls that we, and sometimes even our parents, walked as elementary students. But the reality is, most of our elementary school buildings are 80 years old and are needing significant attention to simply remain safe, functional, and suitable for 21st century learning.” said Superintendent Tipton. “We were very appreciative for the Commissioners offer to borrow money on behalf of the school system for our facilities.”

Chair Mike Orr added, “We are very excited for our system as we look toward making this $11.5 million dollar investment in our children. We knew we didn’t have enough money to look at all nine schools, so the consensus of both boards was to focus on the aging elementary schools. Knowing that once the commissioners borrow the money, resulting in a 15 year payback commitment of the county, Dr. Tipton and the School Board take very serious the responsibility of making the best decisions possible for Yancey County Schools now and in the future.”

In compiling the assessment, Cox and Dowty did a complete tour of each facility, with specific attention to infrastructure as well as safety issues and concerns within each school. A Powerpoint was presented detailing concerns with each school site that ranged from undersized campuses and classrooms to highly combustible construction material and aging infrastructure within the buildings.

After the presentation, the floor was opened for questions and comments from the school board and then time was allowed for public input.

Chair Orr announced that the regular meeting of the school board on June 6th will be held at the YCS Central Office and the agenda will not include any discussion of the Facilities Needs Assessment.

There will be a special school board meeting on Monday, June 20th at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium at Mountain Heritage High School. Mike Cox will present the revised needs assessment data and time will be allowed for public input.