Houston school board approves construction projects

jmink@macon.comApril 9, 2013 

PERRY -- Some school construction projects are a step closer to being completed after getting a thumbs up Tuesday from the Houston County Board of Education.

The board extension office, dubbed Perry Village, is getting a face lift as officials look to house certain employees in one place. Perry Village, which is located near Perry High School, is slated for a $2.1 million renovation. The plan includes converting the south portion of the building into office space for student services and the north portion of the building into a meeting space for up to 220 people. The entire roofing system also will be replaced, according to board documents.

The extension office, which currently houses a handful of employees, will be used by nursing staff, psychologists, program specialists and others.

Board members also gave the green light for hallway renovations at Miller, Parkwood, Russell, Pearl Stephens, Tucker and Westside elementary schools, and Perry and Feagin Mill middle schools. The project will cost more than $737,000.

Both the hallway and Perry Village projects are expected to be completed by October, said Jason Daniel, director of facilities. The board approved the projects’ guaranteed maximum prices and contract times.

Additionally, the board approved a pilot project that will allow students to use their personal electronic devices in some classrooms. The project will begin Monday at Northside and Houston County high schools and April 29 at Feagin Mill Middle and Matt Arthur Elementary schools.

The board also declared April the Month of the Military Child. Superintendent Robin Hines signed a proclamation to support this month’s activities that honor those students. Those activities include presenting dog tags to students whose parents are in active military duty, wearing special colors to remember veterans and sending care packages to troops.

About 27 percent of Houston County’s students are considered military children, and more than 2,500 of those students have at least one parent in active military duty, according to the district.

The school district has always had a good relationship with Robins Air Force Base, “but it never has been as strong as it is now,” Hines said.

The board also:

• Approved an agreement with the American Red Cross that will allow the organization to use four high schools and six middle schools as emergency shelters in case of a disaster.

• Welcomed board member Richard Unruh, whose first board meeting was Tuesday. Unruh was appointed in March after former board member Tom Walmer resigned. Unruh represents Post 1, which includes Northside High School, Thomson Middle School and several elementary schools. Unruh is a retired media specialist and former choral teacher for Houston County schools.

“I’m looking forward to being a part of the school system once again,” he said.

To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 256-9751

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