DAYTON, Tenn. — Students at the new Rhea County High School and Middle School will have some extra time to get acquainted with their buildings when the 2012-13 school year begins.
County school board members approved a suggestion from Director of Schools Jerry Levengood to have students come to the new schools one grade per day to ease the transition from their present schools.
Levengood said he believes such a plan will reduce confusion as students and school personnel get used to the new facilities.
Work on the new high school is on schedule, and project manager Jamie Spencer told board members the final roof section should be installed in the next two weeks. Window glass is being delivered this week, he said. With the roof and glass installed, work on the building's interior should continue unhindered through the winter, Spencer said.
In a related matter, board members agreed to proceed with building an indoor practice facility for high school athletics teams. Spencer said his company estimates the cost of the bare-bones building to be no more than $225,000.
Board member Johnny Mincy asked if Spencer thought there would be enough savings on the high school project to cover the additional building without having to ask the county for more money.
"I think we will have at least that much [$225,000] in the county's portion of savings to cover that cost," Spencer said. The county's contract with contractor Hewlett-Spencer calls for the two to split savings in construction costs.
Board member Bill Davault asked that a committee be appointed to consider "numerous complaints from voters pertaining to a member of the Rhea County Board of Education receiving a contract to work at the remodeling at the Rhea County High School."
Without naming board member Chip Pendergrass, he said Pendergrass' family firm, Peco Electric, is the contractor.
Pendergrass said that before his company offered a bid he reviewed the matter with the county attorney, the district attorney general and the school board's attorney. He was assured that there was no conflict of interest, Pendergrass said.
Board Chairman B.J. McCoy cited a state attorney general's opinion that said, in part, "based on these specific facts," there "probably" is no conflict of interest.
After the meeting McCoy said he did not appoint a committee to investigate the situation because there has been no finding of a conflict.
"If the attorneys can prove a violation, then we will proceed with an ethics committee," he said.
Tom is the director of public information at Bryan College and has been in the Dayton community for 30 years.