Those who have been waiting for work to begin on the new Wallace School won't have to wait much longer, according to a report made to the Marlboro County Board of Education at their regular monthly meeting Monday.
Joel Carter of the architectural firm Jumper Carter Sease reported that plans for the new school were delivered to the contractor that day, and he anticipates a bid date of June 5. That would put bids being awarded around June 12.
A meeting for local subcontractors will be held prior to that, most likely at the end of May, Carter said. The date will be announced as soon as it is finalized.
With that time frame in mind, he said he expects work at the site to begin around July 1. There is a 14-month time frame for the construction.
Carter also pointed out that materials for the new baseball/softball complex at Marlboro County High School will be bid as part of the Wallace School project in order to secure better pricing on materials like steel and block.
The final part of his report had to do with the drainage project at the MCHS football field. He said this is going well, with the installation of a new irrigation system set to begin May 19. It should be complete by graduation.
Related to the Wallace School, the school board passed a resolution authorizing the issuance of a $20 million general obligation bond. This is intended to cover the cost of land acquisition, if necessary, as well as the construction and equipping of the school, including furnishings and technology.
Bond attorney Frannie Heizer of the McNair Law Firm was present to answer any questions board members had. The vote to adopt the resolution was unanimous.
Tim McNeil appeared before the board to raise a concern about the instruction which sixth graders at Bennettsville Intermediate School received in science and social studies.
He said some students only received instruction in these subjects for 12 weeks before PASS testing, something which he called unacceptable and said set the students up for failure.
He said that when there is a shortage of certified staff in a certain area, someone from the district office should be assigned to teach that subject, rather than having the students deprived of the instruction, and he asked the board to consider a policy to that effect.
Board Chair Lucy Parsons asked that this matter be placed on the next meeting agenda.
In other business, the school board:
-recognized the district office and the School of Discovery as the April Cleanliness Award winners;
-recognized seventh grade students selected to participate in the Duke Talent Identification Program;
-recognized students for recent awards they received, including the School of Discovery Singers, Dancers and Jazz Band, the McColl baseball team, and students who excelled at the Regional Science Fair held at Francis Marion University and the S.C. Future Business Leaders of America conference, and members of the MCHS wrestling team and basketball team;
-heard a report from board member Nan Fleming on the National School Boards Association meeting which she and Valerie McClain attended. She said it was "very enjoyable" and much of the discussion had to do with school districts across the country having to do "so much with so little";
-heard from board vice-chair Deborah Peterkin on her thoughts about "focus." She said the board and the community need to focus on positive things that are happening, rather than negative or controversial things;
-gave second reading approval to policies related to school wellness, adult education and bullying;
-gave first reading approval to Gifted & Talented plans;
-received an update on the district's AdvancED accreditation progress report, which was submitted May 1;
-approved a request for eight students and two staff members of AMIKids Infinity Marlboro, the district's alternative school, to attend a Summer Challenge at S.C. State University;
-went into executive session for personnel, legal and student matters. After the executive session, the board approved eight staff elections.
Also after the executive session, a motion to authorize payment for services requested by Tim Brown ended with a 4-4 tie vote, with Lucy Parsons, Barbara Ohanesian, Jackie Branch and Robert Goff in favor and Deborah Peterkin, Janice Bright, Nan Fleming and Valerie McClain opposed. Michael Coachman was not present for the vote. Tie votes are failed votes.