Harlan County School Board talks HVAC, security

Published 1:00 pm Wednesday, July 5, 2023

The Harlan County School Board held their regular meeting recently, handling topics including the impact of an HVAC project on the start date of the upcoming school year and a possible grant for an upgrade in the security systems at Harlan County High School.

Chairman Gary Farmer called the meeting to order and called on Superintendent Brent Roark to report to the Board.

Roark first updated the panel on an ongoing HVAC project.

“A summary of where we’re at right now, we timed it to try to get everything done in the summer,” Roark said. “Right now, that project is going incredibly well. We couldn’t be more pleased with our two contractors…All their workforce today was at Rosspoint…They probably had 30 workers on the site over there…They’ve been working on the other schools as time permits.”

Roark advised the Board that if work continues to progress as it has been, work in the classrooms will be completed before the start of the upcoming school year with the possible exception of some rooms at James A Cawood Elementary (JACES).

“JACES is big enough that we can move folks around,” Roark said. “It’s going to inconvenience the teachers just a little bit, like on a weekend, we may have to clear three rooms at a time. So, we may have to have three teachers move their stuff out on a Friday…They’d be out for four or five days, but we’ve got plenty of rooms to move them into.”

Roark mentioned projects at the Wallins and Rosspoint gymnasiums will be finished after the start of the school year.

“Those can be done in the afternoons and evenings,” Roark said. “Based on our meeting today, there shouldn’t be any impact whatsoever on school starting on time.”

The Board also heard from Harlan County High School Chief of Police Matt Cope, who requested permission to advertise bids for an access control system/electronic locks for Harlan County High School.

“We’ve applied for a grant through the school violence prevention program,” Cope said. “I expect we’ll hear from that within the next couple months. We may not get the funding until October if we’re successful at that, but if we can go ahead and advertise for bids, we can go ahead and have that locked in so that if we are successful, we can get that started.”

Cope explained what the access control system would do.

“The project will cover electronic locks for the exterior and all the interior classrooms,” Cope said. “It’s a tremendous security upgrade.”

The Board approved a motion to advertise bids for an access control system/electronic locks for HCHS.

Roark also advised the panel on bids received for fence maintenance at Harlan County High School.

“The fence replacement bids are in at the high school,” Roark said. “That went better than I thought it would…The actual low bid on that was for a thing called microwaving…it’s a drying process. The second lowest bid was for a process called salt drying…We’re checking on those two low bids to see what that is and if it meets the specs that we want. If it doesn’t, we can reject those bids, and if it does, we can accept.”

In other Board activity:

• The Board passed a motion to allocate ESSER funds for school supplies.

• The Board approved all items on the consent agenda, including a bus request for 4H J.M. Feltner Camp in Laurel County, slip-proof shoes for school food services staff, school food services uniforms, the purchase of a combination cooler and freezer for Rosspoint Elementary, permission to advertise for bids for a box cooler/freezer for Cawood Elementary, advertise for bids for the removal and surplus of the existing cooler/freezer at Rosspoint Elementary, and bid for a cooler and freezer at the School Food Services storage building.