The city school board approved a recommendation from maintenance supervisor Paul Ramsey on Monday to purchase a new lighting system for the middle school’s softball, baseball, football and track facilities. Currently, these fields are the only ones without lights.
The lighting system, a $400,000 expense, will be from Musco Lighting in Oskaloosa, Iowa, one of the world’s most reputable lighting companies.
The school system will bid the installation work, purchasing the lights with three payments — the first a year away. Ramsey said Musco will continue to service the lights for 25 years at no additional cost to the school system.
It is hoped the lights can be installed in time for the fall football season.
Ramsey expects to come back to the board in the future for another athletics-related request. Cleveland Middle School has bleachers for softball and baseball, but no bleachers for the football field. That is expected to be the next request.
Board chairman Tom Cloud said, “As a board, we’re really, really excited about this.”
Other school board issues:
- Director of Schools Dr. Martin Ringstaff said he is waiting for a proposal from the Hardwick family on the purchase of property for a new elementary school on North Lee Highway.
“We’re still waiting with great anticipation,” said Ringstaff. “We talked to the Realtor today and he said the offer is in place, but it’s not on paper. It should be any time. We want to make sure we get it right.”
- Dr. Murl Dirksen gave a brief report on the recent site committee meeting.
Discussions were held on the new school site, HVAC needs at the high school, and lighting plans for the middle school.
Board members also discussed the need to actively support the Bradley County Commission’s wheel tax proposal in the August election. Revenue from the wheel tax would be used for the proposed new city school, and the county school system’s capital needs.
- Administration is seeking a resolution for a parking situation at the STaR Center on North Lee Highway. An adjacent property owner wants a rental fee on the area the center has been using.
The school system rents the building from the Church of God of Prophecy, and is looking at the possibility of putting parking space on the other side of the building.
- Cleveland High Principal Autumn O’Bryan introduced faculty members Paula Ware and Becky Guthrie, who were selected as this month’s Spotlight honorees.
O’Bryan said Ware “has a great relationship with the students.” She said Guthrie “works countless hours to see that our students’ voices are heard.”
- The board heard from four Cleveland High students who attended this year’s Student Conference on Policy and Education. Board member Dawn Robinson also participated in the conference.
- O’Bryan gave the board a timeline on special spring events.
Graduation is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 19, in the high school’s commons area. The Honors Reception will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 15, in the commons; the Honors Banquet is at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 12, also in the commons; and Class Night will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 17.
- Ringstaff introduced Barbara Ector as the new principal (in August) at the Teen Learning Center.
He also announced he has met with a majority of teachers and administrators of the school system, getting some ideas for the next school year. “I felt it was very beneficial,” he said. “We are blessed with great teachers.”
Dirksen said, “I appreciate you stepping up and doing this so we will know (and understand) the issues.
“Ringstaff said some of Cleveland’s administrators will travel to Greeneville in Upper East Tennessee April 12 for a tour of that city’s school system. “We want to visit some other school systems in the area,” he said.
- Next fall the school board will add an ex-officio student to its meetings. The student will join in discussions, but not have a vote.
- Board members got an update on the sensory garden at the high school. The board also gave the group approval to solicit donations from within the school system. About $4,000 has been raised from the private sector, but $4,000 to $6,000 more is needed.