HOLLY HILL - The Orangeburg Consolidated School District 3 Board of Trustees talked about upgrading the layout and HVAC system at Holly Hill-Roberts Middle School at its March meeting.

“One of the things we looked at is what we think is a safety issue over at Holly Hill-Roberts Middle School,” district Operations Manager Gerald Wright. “That campus is more open than our other campus.”

For one thing, the school still uses its old JROTC building for activities, he said. The building is detached from the school’s main structure so students have to exit the main building and venture outside, Wright said. He presented trustees with architectural drawings prepared by district architect Dan Shelley to illustrate the concerns.

“We see that as a safety concern in terms of students being in the open when going back and forth to class,” Wright said. “So we are recommending that we enclose that area where students have to go on the outside.”

Similar transition points exist near the traffic circle and near the portion of the campus that people refer to as “the old trade building,” he said. In the wake of recent school shootings, the operations team wants to secure these areas, Wright said.

Renovations would also include replacing outdated HVAC units on the roofs of the main Holly Hill-Roberts building.

“It doesn’t make to sense to re-roof (a portion of the building) and seal old units in,” Wright said.

A portion of the funds for the project would come from existing money that was budgeted to demolish the old Holly Hill Primary School building. The remainder of the funds would have to be budgeted later, Wright said.

In her report, Superintendent Dr. Jesulon Gibbs-Brown thanked the district staff members who helped prepare the district for the accreditation visit Feb. 25-28. Although district officials had not received results of the visit at the time of the March board meeting, Gibbs-Brown said she was pleased because no “red flags” were observed during the visit.

Also during the meeting, the trustees approved four field trip requests presented by Wright as follows:

  • Participating male students from across the district will spend a night aboard U.S.S. Yorktown at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant. The trip will require students to miss one day from school.
  • Lake Marion High School students participating in the S.C. Skills/USA Administrative Skills competition in Greenville will be out of school for two days.
  • LMHS Junior ROTC members will travel to Washington, D.C. to tour Arlington National Cemetery, Federal Bureau of Investigation Headquarters and other sites. The trip requires the students to miss three days of school.
  • LMHS students will attend the Men of Color national summit at Clemson University during spring break.

In addition, trustees revised the 2017-18 school calendar to account for seven days that were missed during inclement weather in September and icy weather in January. The board already made up two of the days by holding classes on President’s Day and on a previously-scheduled teacher work day on Jan. 24, which were originally scheduled as days when students would not attend school. March 9 was also built into the calendar as a makeup day.

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Gibbs-Brown proposed accounting for a fourth day at the beginning of spring break. A fifth day will be made up by extending the school year by one day to June 7. The final two days may be waived altogether, according to state guidelines.

Trustees also received a briefing from representatives of the White & Story Law Firm regarding revisions to district policies. The most recent sections to be revised pertain to foundations, general governance, general administration, facility planning and development and education agency relations. Each trustee received a copy of the policies to review. The policies will be reviewed later in a work session.

In the curriculum update, Dr. Marty Conner reported his department was preparing to update the district’s strategic plan. Planning for summer school is also underway and online testing of students will begin in the next cycle, he said.

During the budget update, Gail Sanders reported revenue collected in February totaled $3,591,639.86. Expenditures totaled $2,092,143.91, with revenue outpacing expenditures by $1,499,495.95, she said.

In a personnel update, JoAnn Lawton reported 27 people applied for positions in the district during the county’s recent job recruitment fair, along with several walk-in candidates. She said the district’s principals conducted interviews with candidates in mid-March, and they will attend a recruitment fair at the College of Charleston on April 20 and the 2018 Teacher Expo on May 18.

Daphne Walley reported in her technology update that the district had acquired the additional bandwidth it needed to support online testing. Gibbs-Brown also noted that the district is making progress on getting the OCSD3 website fully operational with features requested by several trustees.

The Orangeburg Consolidated School District 3 Board of Trustees will hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, April 10.

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