It’s hot in the concession stand at the Jeff Davis High football stadium.
And the field could be much better lit as well.
That’s the take from Monday night’s meeting of the Jeff Davis County Board of Education as they heard from members of the Band Boosters and citizen Scottie Graham, who is part-owner of a lighting company.
Band Booster Charles Carelock, who was introduced to the board by Band Director Charles Westman, served as spokesperson for a group of Boosters present for the meeting. He said the extreme heat in the concession stand, which is operated by Band Booster volunteers, has resulted in workers suffering from heat exhaustion and weakness. The group was in hopes of having air conditioning installed in the building, which is owned by the Board of Education, and Carelock said the Boosters were willing to do their part to help with making the proposal a reality.
Carelock said Boosters had looked at concession stands in other communities when the band played at those sites, either at football games or band competitions. While there has been no formal drawing developed, he explained that the Boosters are in hopes the serving area can be closed with glass and windows that could be opened and closed to take orders. They were also in hopes of installing customer traffic flow devices to make taking orders and serving more orderly and efficient.
Board Chairman Roger Ogilvie said the board members would take a look at the concessions stand building and suggested that the Boosters develop a system they fill will work for them, put it on paper, and return it to the Board so they can look at getting cost estimates.
Carelock said he had received a rough estimate, which he emphasized was rough, of a cost of $20,000 and the Boosters had suggested they could raise the funds to pay half of that cost.
Graham began his presentation by pointing out that, while he is a part owner in a lighting business, he was at the board meeting as a citizen and a sports fan. To open the presentation, Superintendent Dr. Stan Rentz showed board members a poster size photo of the high school football field which revealed dark spots on the field with the current metal halide bulbs.
Graham suggested to the board that they replace the metal halide bulbs with LED bulbs, explaining the metal halide bulbs’ life span ranges from 8,000 to 20,000 hours during which time the brightness drops. LED bulbs, by contrast, have a life span of 60,000 to 100,000 hours which would lower maintenance costs by not having to change bulbs as often.
Additionally, the quality and clarity of the lighting is better and LED lighting is more directed — in a range of 180 degrees while metal halide bulbs have a 360 degree range which creates lost lighting.
Graham also said he checked on the lighting costs at the field for the 2018 season and found the school system had spent over $30,000 for lighting. LED lighting, he said, could be operated for approximately $12,000 per season. He added that, while there would be up front costs associated with changing the bulbs, that cost savings would pay for the up front costs in 3-4 years.
Graham recommended the board have an analysis done in support of a bid package if they decided to proceed with changing the lighting.
During an update on athletics in the school system, Athletic Director Roger Metts shared with the board his and Dr. Rentz’ efforts at raising funds to help finance athletic programs, which by law cannot be financed by the school board using tax funds.
The two met with teachers in the school system asking if they would be willing to make monthly donations of any size to go toward financing athletic programs and the teachers responded by pledging a total of $786 per month which would bring in almost $9,500 per year. Metts said some gave $5 per month and one pledged $30 per month. Those making pledges included teachers, custodians, and other school system personnel.
The plan was a trial effort and Metts said at some point they would take the suggestion to employers in the county and see if they can get other members of the community to participate. The goal is to cut down on the many fund-raising events athletic programs have to conduct throughout the year in order to operate.
The board heard a report from JDHS Principal Chris Roppe who shared his research on the Reaching Potential through Manufacturing (RPM) program. Through the program, school systems partner with local manufacturing companies enabling at risk students to work shifts at those companies to learn job skills while at the same time working toward getting a high school diploma.
The students also learn “soft skills” — personal attributes that enable people to interact effectively with other people.
Roppe shared details of RPM programs in Richmond County which work with Southwire and EZ-GO.
After talking with local manufacturers, a bus has been chartered to carry interested people to Augusta to view those programs in person. The bus will leave at 7:45 a.m. Nov. 26 from the old Hardies parking lot and return that evening. Anyone wishing to go can contact the Hazlehurst-Jeff Davis County Chamber of Commerce.
In other action, the board ….
…. recognized the high school girls softball team and girls and boys cross country teams.
…. awarded Tina Nelms the WOW award and Ralph Edwards the Extra Mile Award. It was pointed out that Edwards, as a graduation coach, this year helped the school have a graduation rate that topped 90% for the first time in history.
…. heard an update on the school nutrition department by director Janice Conley.
…. approved a revision on the policy on employee leaves and absences.
…. approved contracts with the City of Hazlehurst and the County Commission to provide school resource officers with the board responsible for their salaries and the city and county responsible for their benefits. The city is supplying two officers and the county one.
…. heard a financial update from Finance Director Betty Corbitt.
…. met in closed session to discuss personnel and compensation.
…. approved hiring high school special education paraprofessional Jennifer Brooke Hampton, high school paraprofessional Katelyn Lord, monitor/CDL drivers Victoria Foskey and Deborah Wommack, substitute bus driver Windell Horton, substitute bus driver Wilbert Miller and girls basketball community coach Ramone Fisher.
…. accepted the resignation of Jessica Trowell.
…. approved local board training plan for FY2019.