The decision was made at the suggestion of the Site Committee, which was headed by board members Dr. Murl Dirksen, Steve Morgan and Peggy Pesterfield.
Director of Schools Dr. Martin Ringstaff assured the board the gymnasium is currently safe. School-related activities and basketball games conducted within the facilities do not pose a threat to students or guests, he said.
“However, the engineer who has been keeping an eye on [the structure] has referred us to a different group of surveyors and engineers,” Ringstaff said. “[Bennett and Pless engineering firm] wouldn’t just come in and say, ‘Yes, that needs to be fixed.’ They would offer options on how to fix the dome.”
Movement has occurred on the exterior wall of the dome within the brick veneer. This portion of the structure is not, however, a supporting element.
Board members agreed they would rather know there is nothing wrong with the building than reach a point where the building could be condemned.
Hal Taylor, director of Maintenance and Transportation, noted it is very difficult to determine the stresses on a round building like the dome.
He said the engineering firm will determine the measure of the movement, where stresses are and how much time is available for repairs.
The report should provide the school system with new strategies and repairs to address the issue.
The board agreed to approve funds for a structural analysis.
Updates were also given by E.L. Ross Principal Lisa Earby, Blythe-Bower Principal Joel Barnes and Yates Primary Principal Carolyn Ingram on the recent safety construction overhauls completed at their schools.
E.L. Ross’ entrance, lobby and main office areas were rearranged to ensure optimal security for students.
The main office, principal’s office and conference room were moved into the old Technoplaza room at the front of the school. Guests must enter through the main office to gain access to the rest of the school.
Earby said everyone has been in favor of the change.
“It has been huge for us. Our parents have been so appreciative. They love that the doors are locked and you can’t enter the building without going through the main office,” Earby shared. “But, they love even more the [school resource officer] is front and center.”
Blythe-Bower’s safety construction closed off the front hallway to guests. Everyone must enter through the main office to gain entrance to the rest of the school. The building’s original design allowed for the addition of another hallway in the middle of the school. This made up for the traffic flow cut off by placing doors at either end of the front hall.
Blythe-Bower parents have shared similar sentiments as those expressed by Earby.
“They have been very, very appreciative,” Barnes said. “The first couple of days they were confused as to why they all had to sign in, but now that we have a routine, we are good to go.”
A camera system was put in at Yates.
Ingram said parents have appreciated the added safety precaution.
“They like that there is only one door they can enter,” Ingram assured the board.
Additional information shared at the meeting included:
n The board decided against signing with Energy Architects’ Strategic Solar Project Development. Members agreed to table the issue. The decision was made based on legal advice received by the city school system attorney Chuck Cagle.
n Ringstaff informed the board Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland has formed a committee to study how the City Council can best provide the funds needed to build the new elementary school.
Dawn Robinson suggested she and her fellow board members continue to stay plugged into the City Council and County Commission meetings.
n Cleveland Middle School Principal Mike Collier presented Cody Raper and Melisa Rader as his school’s employees of the month.
Collier said Rader, and her entire family, do a lot for both the middle school and the entire school system.
He said Raper has done an excellent job with Raider TV and the CMS website.
n Ringstaff presented the Director of Schools annual report, which is available online at www.clevelandschools.org.