The DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night granted approval for the construction of a new field house for the high school football program.
Plans are to break ground in late fall or early winter on the new field house, which will be built with high school football and Jr. Pro funds.
Concerns arose late last month when Director of Schools Mark Willoughby received a legal opinion from an attorney for the Tennessee School Boards Association warning against possible violations of the federal Title IX law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.
The major issue was whether building a new field house for the high school football program, even without school system funds, would constitute a violation of Title IX when there is no similar facility for girls soccer, for example.
Willoughby later contacted Cagle again for his legal opinion as to whether the school system would be in compliance with Title IX by allowing the girls soccer, middle school football, and Jr. Pro football programs to share use of the existing football field house during the fall sports seasons. Since neither of the teams play at the same time, each one could use the facility on their particular game day. Willoughby gave Cagle's response during Thursday night's meeting. "I was asked to get back in touch with our attorney and find out about the use of the old facility (field house) and if that could be used as a ladies soccer locker room, should that be necessary. The answer was yes. There would be a problem with it also being used with the middle school football and the girls soccer team, but that's the information you asked me to find out about and I found out about it. One thing I would just advise us to do is to make sure that all local, state, and federal guidelines are followed and to cross all T's and dot all I's with insurance, engineering, stamps of approval from the fire marshal and all that. I felt obligated to bring it to your attention on the Title IX issue and should that come up in a year or two years we'll end up dealing with it."
The board gave approval for the construction with some conditions. Darrell Gill of the Junior Pro Program said all those conditions will be met."One of the issues was moving the scoreboard. We will definitely move the scoreboard to the other end of the field where we feel like is best suited."
A couple of the others are making sure that we're up to codes with the fire alarms and that kind of stuff. Mr. Hart has already been in contact with the State Fire Marshal's Office and we're going to get our permits pulled through them and we'll be working with them on that and again Hall and Hart Construction will take care of that for us."
"The agreed upon start date? There's a lot of red tape. After you talk to the fire marshal, you talk to our local inspector, and he's been great to work with but there's things we've got to do locally. Mr. Hart has been speaking with the State Fire Marshal's Office, the architects, and stuff like that, so the time frame is going to be probably six to eight weeks out before all the red tape is taken care of, all the permits, and everything we need to even start breaking ground."
If it is approved tonight, our agreed upon start date would be a date in December, I hope, which would be our last football game because I plan on winning the state championship this year. No pressure! We need to focus on the football team instead of building this project right in the middle of the season. By the time we got our permits pulled, they'd be starting fall practice by the time we'd be breaking ground. Then we would have a construction site with thousands of people out there on Friday nights. That's not a good situation. So it would seem to be the best of everybody's interest if we postpone the breaking ground date until the end of the season. By October 1st, we should have all the permits pulled, we'll have the architect to sign off (on the project). We hope we could be in the building by spring practice, but we're planning for June 1st, to give us some cushion."
The new fieldhouse, a 50 x 70 foot block exterior structure with a metal roof, would be located near the existing facility between the practice field and playing field. It would be for the Tiger football program complete with a dressing room area, locker room, training room, utility room, showers and bathrooms, an office for the coach, and two dry storage areas, one of which would be for the youth football league.
In other business, Director of Schools Willoughby updated the board on personnel moves since last month.
Ashley Barnes, Guidance at DeKalb Middle School
Benita Byars, School Nurse
Heather Cornelius, Educational Assistant at Northside Elementary School
Pat Barnes, Teacher at DeKalb Middle School (retired)
Dr. Carol Hendrix, Supervisor of Instruction for grades 7-12 (retired)
Leave of Absence:
Candice Scarbro, Teacher at DeKalb Middle School, as requested
Employed for 2009-2010:
Suzanne Williams, substitute bus driver
In other business, the board, at the request of Director Willoughby, voted to create a half time teaching position in health occupations at the high school in the proposed tentative budget for 2009-2010. Willoughby says the school system currently has a health occupations teacher but there is a need to expand the program. "In our health occupations (program), there has been an over abundance of requests for classes in the next school year." Willoughby says funds are available in the tentative budget for this positon.
The board, also at Willoughby's request, voted to change the special education secretary from an 11 month to a 12 month position. Willoughby says there are funds available in the federal programs portion of the budget to make this change.
Meanwhile, sealed bids are still being accepted for the sale of a new house, recently constructed by students in the DCHS Carpentry Class.
The original deadline for submitting sealed bids was Thursday, June 11th but no bids were received. The board, Thursday night, voted to extend the deadline to the next meeting date of Thursday, July 9th. A date for an open house will also be scheduled.
The house, located at 140 Evergreen Lane, Smithville, has approximately 1,652 square feet of living area with an attached 528 square foot 2-car garage, master bedroom with master bath and walk-in closet, utility room with half bath, kitchen with eating area, and downstairs den area. The upstairs includes two bedrooms, sitting room, and full bath, 12 x 20 deck, 2 central heat and air gas units, gas hot water heater, 5' x 22' front porch, concrete driveway, hardwood flooring in the living room and den area, tile in the bathrooms and kitchen, and carpet in the bedrooms.
The minimum bid is $140,000. Bids are to be mailed or delivered to the DeKalb County Board of Education,110 South Public Square, Smithville in a sealed envelope clearly marked as a "Bid" and will be received until 4:00 p.m. July 9th. The house can be viewed by appointment. Call the Board of Education to request a viewing at 615-597-4084.
The sealed bids will be opened at the next school board meeting at 7:00 p.m. on July 9th.