Unicoi County school board receives update on summer projects

Sue Guinn Legg • Updated Aug 9, 2018 at 10:12 PM

ERWIN — In its last meeting before next week’s start of a new school year, the Unicoi County Board of Education on Thursday received an update on several major capital projects completed over the summer recess.

The board also implemented several school system policy revisions, authorized a Future Farmers of America trip to Costa Rica and said goodbye to a group of retiring staff and faculty members and one long-serving board member.

Director of Schools John English told the board that over the summer the school system completed three major capital improvement projects as well as the construction of the third of four new elementary school playgrounds committed to by the board four years ago.

The large projects included installation of new heating and air systems at Love Chapel and Unicoi elementary schools and completion of the last phase of the re-roofing of Unicoi County High School.

Following the installation of new playgrounds at Rock Creek and Temple Hill elementary schools over the past two years, English said Unicoi Elementary also received a new playground this summer and the fourth and final new playground is budgeted for this year at Love Chapel Elementary.

He said the staff is pleased with the outcome of each project and is anxious to get students back in school to see the improvements.

A series of more than half dozen policy revisions passed by the board on Thursday included required documentation and mandatory procedures for any revisions of student transcripts, mandatory reporting of any felony conviction or resignation resulting from allegations of wrongdoing and mandatory background checks to be conducted every five years after an employee’s hire date.

In new business, the board approved 10-day trip to Costa Rica next June for up to 12 FFA students to learn about global opportunities for careers in agriculture.

In a series of special recognitions to kick off the new school year, the board honored rising first-grader Brooklyn Hendrix of Unicoi Elementary for exemplary behavior and consistent demonstration of how to be a good friend and helper to other students and her teacher.

English also presentedparting gifts and words of appreciation to retiring school system employees Becky Shealy, Bob Thomas, Lisa Peterson, Alda Edwards, Larry Howell and Michael Scott.

And School Board Chairman Tyler Engle joined English in honoring newly elected county mayor Garland “Bubba” Eveley for his 20 years of service on the board. Engle and English each thanked Evely for the impact he made personally and professionally on the school system and its students, including on the two of them.

Evely noted that Thursday night maked his 240th regular meeting on the school board and said, “I enjoyed serving. I hope I made a little impact as a board member.”

While he is looking forward to his new role as county mayor, Evely hinted at a possible extension of his tenure on school board. “I may come back … you never know,” he said.

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