School board tackles construction matters

First Posted: 12/8/2009

DOBSON At Monday nights Surry County Schools Board of Education meeting, construction was a major topic of discussion.
Work on the new Rockford Elementary School is progressing, and though the rain has delayed some of the construction, the school is still projected to be completed on time. The road-widening needed in front of the school has been approved by the N.C. Department of Transportation and the property has been surveyed and staked. Work on the water and sewer extension will also be completed within the necessary timeline, according to Dr. Ashley Hinson, superintendent. The new school is scheduled to be open for the beginning of the 2010-11 school year.
Work on the new Pilot Mountain Middle School is also progressing despite the weather delays. Discussion has begun at that site concerning widening the road in front of the property.
Hinson, school board Chair Earlie Coe, the architects and members of NCDOT met recently to discuss this issue and to determine the new right-of-way created by the widening. The school system has begun making contact with the property owners who will be affected by the new right-of-way in order to address any concerns they may have.
In other campus-related business, Ron Phillips, a Surry Central High School alumnus, proposed the idea of creating a Fallen Eagles Memorial Garden at the school to honor three servicemen who died in the line of duty.
The proposal was brought about by a committee made up mainly of the families of the three men, Sgt. Gerold Lee Mounce, class of 1963, who served in the Army, Cpl. Dale Alan Gunnell, class of 1965, who served in the Marine Corps, and Pfc. Adam Lee Marion, class of 2000, who served in the Army.
The garden would consist of a brick patio, benches and plants located to one side of the school. There would also be engraved markers honoring the three men, with the option to add names if the situation arose. The committee spoke to the schools JROTC program to see if the cadets would be on board with the project and would help with the dedication. Kevin Via, principal at the school, the JROTC and Robert Draughn, head of construction and maintenance for the school system, are all on board with the idea.
Its something we hope would evolve and be a good image for the school, said Phillips, who hoped to get to work immediately with the boards approval.
With a proposed budget of less than $1,500, Phillips was sure that if the funds could not be raised, the committee would be willing to cover the cost. The committee would be responsible for the maintenance of the garden.
I think this is a wonderful idea, said Sue Stone, board member, before seconding the motion of approval made by Brian Gates, board vice chair.
In addition, a group from the Copeland community spoke to the board about changes to Copeland Elementary Schools ball fields. The group wants to create a new dirt practice field to the side of the two existing fields which would require them to move the existing backstop to the foul line on the bigger of the two fields.
The group also would like to purchase a new electronic scoreboard for the baseball field, citing the fact that Copeland is the only school in the area with a ball field that does not have an electronic scoreboard.
We want to try to make it better for the kids, said Hank Whitaker, vice president of Copeland Youth Baseball.
The group also wants to put up an outfield fence and move gravel from the dugout to the dugout behind the backstop on the big field. The group has a budget of around $6,000 to begin work on these projects. The project was unanimously approved by the board, allowing the committee to start work.

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