, Corbin, KY

March 15, 2013

East Bernstadt Schools celebrate renovations

By Austin Williams
The Times-Tribune

EAST BERNSTADT — The East Bernstadt Independent Schools regular board meeting on Thursday was by turns buoyant and leaden, as the board celebrated the school’s renovated campus and then turned to the tedious work of insuring it.

Technology director Mike Owens first presented a bid, which the board approved, for $94,000 of new network hardware and support, which will be installed in East Bernstadt’s new classroom and administration buildings. Owens said the package includes components that will give the campus access to wireless Internet, as well as replace substandard components in an aging network that has been “patched together” over time. Owens also submitted a bid, also approved by the board, for a content filtering system that will be capable of monitoring and filtering faculty and student access to the Internet.

The board adjourned for a tour of the new building led by the architect, Matthew Brooks of Lexington based firm alt32, and the construction manager, David Jackson, president of Hacker Brothers of London. The building, which will be open for instructional use by the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, features classrooms and hallways with large windows, and is physically integrated with the school’s gymnasium. The gym, built in 1937 with New Deal money, will have its interior renovated but its exterior preserved. The current 1936 classroom building, however, will meet with the wrecking ball at some point this summer.

After the tour, Brooks and Jackson gave a brief presentation in which a revised summary of costs were reviewed, including the second phase of the project which will involve the construction of a new administrative building and the renovation of the gymnasium. The renovation will likely double the seating capacity of the gym, principal and assistant superintendent Jim Meding, said.

The bulk of the rest of the meeting was taken up by deliberations over the purchase of liability and workmen’s compensation insurance for the district. Since the previous provider of these services, the publicly owned Kentucky School Boards Insurance Trust, announced that it would dissolve in January, school districts across the state have been scrambling to insure themselves against suits and disasters. The East Bernstadt board weighed options for requesting bids from insurers in a market they are admittedly not familiar with.

“We’re not experts in insurance,” superintendent Vickie Jones said, a sentiment  that was echoed at some point in the deliberations by most members of the board and the school district’s attorney, Larry Bryson.

Other passed motions of note include one which will return the district to a conventional school week, with classes commencing at 8 a.m. and ending at 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, a decision declining partial funding for the contracting of an energy savings consultant, and one that set the district’s final school day for Friday, May 24.