, Corbin, KY

December 10, 2013

Board updated on career center

Project manager gives construction report at Laurel Board of Education meeting, Corbin, KY

CORBIN — CORRECTION - posted Dec. 12, 2013 - Due to a reporter’s error, a story that appeared on Page 1 of the Tuesday, Dec. 1o, 2013, edition contained an error. It should have said Kevin Cheek is a project manager with Sherman Carter Barnhart.

By LeeAnn Cain / Staff Writer

Monday night’s special meeting of the Laurel County Board of Education featured updates on the construction of the new Laurel County Career Readiness Center.

Project Manager Kevin Cheek with Hacker Brothers updated the board on the progress of the building’s construction, which is mostly preparing the area to begin building the Career Readiness Center. Superintendent Doug Bennett said at this point they were just “moving dirt,” and the actual building construction will begin sometime after Christmas.

Cheek also presented electronic renderings of the building to the board members which detailed the costs and layout of the new building, which is estimated to open during the fall of 2015. The rendering of the Career Readiness Center consisted of “career paths” and learning labs surrounding a central “pod” of classrooms, supplemented with student collaboration areas.

According to Cheek, the career paths are meant for both college and career readiness. The students may take classes for college credit, or be certified in a chosen profession. The career pathways will include industrial maintenance technology; healthcare services; multimedia technology; power motor sports, which is learning how to work on small vehicles such as motorcycles; and engineering and biomedical sciences under Project Lead the Way — a project dedicated to encouraging students interested in engineering and technology professions.

Cheek detailed some features of a couple of the career pathways. The power sports area will feature a large pneumatic wall that can open, similar to a garage door. The industrial maintenance and technology center will feature classrooms so that students may learn additional skills before testing them out. The career pathways will consist of “clusters” for each career that consist of classrooms and a career pathway lab.

The career pathways are peppered with student collaboration areas that will feature loose chairs that students can move, “media bars” for them to work on their laptops and other devices, and white boards for collaborative learning. According to Cheek, they are meant to be educational and interactive spaces.

The building will also feature 30-kilowatt solar panels on the roof that will generate enough power for all of the lights in the building. Maintenance of the solar panels will also be part of certain career pathways’ learning experience.

The estimated cost of the building is $17.9 million, according to Cheek.

The board unanimously approved the construction documents and the building specifications, and Bennett said that the board would send the documents to the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) in Frankfort by Wednesday for final approval.  Board member Bud Stuber asked for a time frame, and Cheek responded that Jan. 23 is the date for accepting bids.

In other board news:

—The special meeting was held at North Laurel Elementary School to celebrate the completion of an addition to the school as well as the success of the NLMS football team. Bennett expressed pride in the updates to NLMS.

The eighth-grade football team received special recognition for having a season without losses, as well as for making the playoffs for the second consecutive year.  Both players and coaches were recognized by the school board.

—Bennett updated the board on the implementation of the Professional Growth Evaluation System. North Laurel High School and North Laurel Middle School were chosen to implement this system, which standardizes the way in which teachers are evaluated. Teacher evaluation has previously been left to individual schools. The other schools in the district also voluntarily chose two teachers on which to test this new evaluation system.

—The board approved a request to sell about three-tenths of an acre of property adjacent to the Keavy Volunteer Fire Department. There are two tracts of land on either side of the fire department. There is no estimate of what amount of money the property will fetch, but it will be sold at its appraised value.

Bennett said the land was too small to do anything with, and it was better off being sold to the fire department.

This transaction has to be approved by the KDE. According to London city attorney Larry Bryson, the land must be declared surplus and not needed by the school system, and the deeds must be approved for both tracts of land. Bryson said that the process was complicated considering it was such a small amount of land.

“There is a real mutual cooperation,” Bryson said of the relationship between the Keavy Fire Department and Laurel County Schools.

—The board approved the Substantial Completion Document for the Laurel County Security Vestibule Project. Bennett said that the punch list, or a list of minor steps to the project’s completion, had been assigned, and the project will be finalized once the punch list is complete.

Hazel Green Elementary School, Campground Elementary School, Hunter Hills Elementary School and Sublimity Elementary School are receiving updated security vestibules, which are doors with extra security measures and metal detectors to better detect any weapons brought into the facility.