By Crystal Burns
The Trenton Special School District board approved the building committee’s recommendation to solicit Requests for Proposals (RFP) for a multipurpose facility. Board members voted unanimously Sept. 3 to move forward.
Director of Schools Tim Haney said the building committee began meeting in February to consider the project.
“I’ve had two conversations with our financial guy, the latest one within the last month, and on both instances, the debt situation going forward looks very positive for you,” Haney told the board. “We have a very healthy surplus. We explained all that to the building committee, and they would like to seek approval for us to solicit RFPs for that building.”
After the meeting, Haney said the board would look at 160’x210’ buildings to be erected between the high school soccer field and the cell tower on Peabody High School’s campus. The band programs and all middle school and high school sports programs with the exception of basketball will utilize the facility.
There will be a 50-yard, marked football field that will allow Peabody Band of Gold Director Steven Westbrook to center his field shows when the band needs to practice indoors. There will also be marked baseball and softball fields and batting cages.
The first 30 feet of the building will have a padded floor for a weight room, and Peabody football coach Shane Jacobs has agreed to move all of the team’s weight equipment from the field house to the new weight room so that all sports programs can use it.
Haney said the facility will include mats for cheerleaders to practice, giving every team that has been constrained to indoor practice in the school commons or gym plenty of space to practice and get better.
“It’s the only thing we lack,” Haney said. “We’ve just had to adjust for a long time.”
Haney said basketball coaches at both the middle and high schools are excited as anyone to see the new facility go up because they’ve been sharing their gym with various programs.
“It has forever been a scheduling headache and not conducive to getting better in those sports,” he said.
Because the district has about $7 million in reserves, the board will not raise property taxes to pay for the facility.
“For a number of reasons, this is a good thing,” Haney said. “We can comfortably do this and do a good job at it.”
Election of officers – The board re-elected all members to their offices, opting to keep Dr. Mark Harper as chairman, Justin Weaver as vice chairman, Clint Hickerson as chairman pro tem, Dee Ann McEwen as fiscal agent and Doug Smith as Tennessee Legislative Network (TLN) representative.
“I appreciate the vote of confidence again,” Harper said. “I will do my best to do the job to make this board proud and to serve our district well in the coming year.”
Haney acknowledged Harper’s term as chairman. Harper is currently in his sixth term (24th year) on the school board and has been elected as chairman every year since 1997.
“It’s a smooth-running operation, and I appreciate it,” Haney said.
Harper said it helps that the board works well together and keeps “the main thing the main thing” by putting students’ needs first.
“We’re not a large system, but we have a system that has a reputation all across this state, and it’s something to be proud of,” he said.
Recognition of donations – Amy Allen, supervisor of Special Populations and Services, introduced the board to the district’s new therapy dog, a yellow Labrador puppy named Finn. Allen recognized Security Bank, BancorpSouth and Regions Bank in Trenton for donating $100 each and anonymous donor for contributing $50 for the purchase of the dog. Allen also said Jonah Horner gave the district an alumni discount for the dog, which Peabody High School students will train (see related story on page 1).
Allen also recognized Tyson Foods in Humboldt for donating $1,000 towards the kitchen renovations in the special education program.
Allen said that although the two projects don’t seem to have much in common, there is a link – Jackie Shipp, the district’s contracted vocational rehabilitation pre-employment transition specialist.
“None of these donations would have been possible if it hadn’t been for Ms. Jackie,” Allen said. “She did this on her own. She knew we were trying to get these projects going and get them off the ground. She wrote letters. She secured these donations for us, and we are so excited.”
DBA Hearing Board – The school board unanimously approved Charlotte Doaks, Kelly Vonner, Jason Driggers, Terry Brown, Greg Vinson and Randy Reynolds for the Disciplinary Hearing Board, which is an arm of the school board. TSSD Safety Supervisor Stephanie Franks chairs the board.