The Coffee County Board of Education approved Thursday evening, Aug. 1, the school system’s 5-Year Capital Plan to submit to the state board of education. This is a working document, and it can be amended at any time if one need becomes more prevalent than another, but it gives the school system an idea of an order for projects that need to be completed to better the schools’ facilities. Superintendent Kevin Killingsworth presented the project list and discussed each item during a work session held prior to the board meeting Thursday night, and board members gave their stamp of approval of the plan during the meeting. The school system is required to submit an updated 5-Year Capital Plan each year to the state, the superintendent said. The top three items on the capital plan are what Killingsworth described as needs due to enrollment growth at two of the schools. Number One on the list is additional classrooms at New Brockton Elementary School needed due to the enrollment increase at that school over the past couple of years. Killingsworth said NBES currently is using seven portable classrooms to accommodate the increased number of students. For the Capital Plan, Killingsworth said he was proposing the construction of 10 new classrooms and additional bathrooms for boys and girls at New Brockton Elementary. Number Two on the Capital Plan is additional classrooms at New Brockton High School. Killingsworth again said this was due to increased enrollment. For NBHS, the superintendent said he was proposing the construction of six new classrooms, administrative offices and additional bathrooms for boys and girls. Also, he said his proposal would be to make these new additions meet code to also serve as a tornado shelter for New Brockton High School in case of bad weather. Number Three on the list is construction of a new gymnasium at Zion Chapel Schools, along with adding pitching and hitting facilities for the school. Killingsworth said the seating capacity in the current gym does not meeting Alabama High School Athletic Association requirements for a Class 2A school. He said many students end up sitting on the floor during assemblies/events that include all students. Again, he said this need was due to increased enrollment. Number Four on the Capital Plan for this year is continued security upgrades at all schools. Number Five is a new lunchroom room facility at Kinston Schools. The superintendent said part of the gym lobby is being utilized daily for lunch every day now at that school to accommodate all students. With this recommendation, Killingworth said he would also propose the new lunchroom facility be built to code to also serve as a storm shelter for that school in times of need. As for the existing lunchroom facility, he said he would propose it be converted into two additional classrooms and the rest of that building be used for storage. Numbers Six through 10 on the Capital Plan are the further out project ideas for the school system, and includes: 6) roofing at the junior high and high school building at Kinston; 7) renovate and add dressing rooms to the New Brockton gymnasium; 8) construct pitching and hitting facilities at Kinston; 9) replace the school system’s bus shop due to the substandard conditions of the current facility; and 10) upgrade the playgrounds at each of the system’s elementary schools. The school system is only required to submit a list of 10 projects for the 5-Year Capital Plan to the state, but Killingsworth said the next project just off the list this year would be to address parking lot issues at the schools. “This is not on the Capital Plan, but I do feel like we will have to expand our parking areas in the future,” Killingsworth said. In reference to the most immediate needs [Numbers One – Three] on the Capital Plan, the superintendent said he was going to request permission to seek out bonds to fund those projects and get them all going at the same time. “Interest rates have dropped drastically,” said board chairman Brian McLeod. “I do think this is a good time to explore long-term bond issue options for the building constructions. These are long-term investments that we need to address.” During the meeting, board members voted unanimously [board member Eric Payne was not in attendance for the meeting] to approve the 5-Year Capital Plan presented by the superintendent. They again were reminded the plan could be amended at any time during the year, if needed, and resent to the state. Also during last Thursday evening’s meeting, the board approved several personnel matters recommended by the superintendent. Two certificated personnel resignations were approved, including: Lauren Parker, assistant principal at Zion Chapel; and Chelsi Jones, Pre-K teacher at Zion Chapel. Four classified personnel resignation were approved, including: Macie Kilcrease, instructional aide at Kinston; Anna Danford, instructional aide at NBHS [her last day of work will be Aug. 23rd]; Keith Hocutt, bus driver for New Brockton; and Bill Carter, bus driver for Zion Chapel. Three classified employments were approved, including: Kaleigh Weeks, instructional aide at Kinston; Diane Rodgers, instructional aide at NHBS; and David Hughes, bus driver for New Brockton. Two leave requests also were approved, including: Alyssa Farris, NBES school nurse; and Betty Winburn, bus driver at New Brockton. Prior to adjourning, the superintendent said it had been a very busy summer, but a lot got accomplished. He added that only the future could tell what would happen with enrollment at New Brockton, but he believed the school system had a good plan in place for enrolling new students as school gets back underway this week. The next regular meeting for the Coffee County Board of Education will be Thursday, Sept. 5, at 5:30 p.m. Board chairman McLeod also noted the first of two required budget hearings for the Fiscal Year 2020 budget would be held Sept. 5th.

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