2017-04-20 / Front Page

New scoring tower in final phase, will provide plenty of added space

By JANE ELLYN AARON
news editor

The new scoring tower being constructed at the Washington-­Wilkes baseball and softball fields is in the final phase of completion. The two-story structure not only provides a space for restrooms and a concession stand, but includes space for both boys and girls lockers rooms, along with additional space for equipment storage.

According to former board member Bob Guin, the project began in the fall of 2015, and gained traction at the beginning of 2016. The project was brought to fruition with the help of Barnett Southern and countless volunteers, cost a little over $153,000, and has already been paid for.

Currently, the facility has a few cosmetic upgrades pending, but should be complete by next week.

“We kind of went above and beyond what we started from,” Guin said. “But, we stretched every dollar, and it’s turned out pretty good.”

Guin included that a 70-yard concrete pad surrounds the 35x40- foot building, and that an additional room with a half-bath was constructed for the coaches and umpires to change in.

Aside from plumbing, Guin said that most of the work and materials that were paid for were kept within the county.

“By the grace of God we had a hail storm, and received some money off of the old school [from an insurance settlement] that we never dreamed of, because those bills were not part of the plan, they were a hope,” Superintendent Dr. Rosemary Caddell explained. “It really was a hope, there was no 10-year-plan, no 15-year-plan.”

In other business, the board voted to invest $2 million with F&M Bank until the next fiscal year, which will begin on July 1. The investment will span six months with one half percent interest.

“Our fiscal year and our budget year run July 1 through June 30, and the tax year runs January 1 through December 30, so as people pay their taxes then we get all of our money for the calendar year upfront, so it’s in our best interest to invest that portion of funds that we do not need until after July 1,” Caddell said.

The board also voted to repair both the exterior fencing surrounding Tiger Stadium, and the interior fencing surrounding the football field for $43,775 to be taken from the capital projects fund. The interior fence will cost $20,150, and the exterior will cost $23,625.

In coordination with the county government and state prison crew, the stadium will have the space beneath the stands cleaned and painted as well.

Additionally, Caddell reported that the board received $2,700 from various vehicles and smaller items being sold at the Young Farmers auction.

As a part of her superintendent’s report, Caddell praised Wilkes County students for scoring above the state average measurement in Georgia’s Student Growth Percentiles (SGP) in both the All Subjects category and the English/Language Arts and Math category.

Students scored a 52.23 in All Subjects, whereas the state average was 49.98, and scored 53.85 in English/Language Arts and Math, whereas the state average was 49.98.

“It’s a true measurement of how much that student is growing, and how much knowledge they’re obtaining year to year,” Caddell said. “Georgia uses the Georgia Milestones state test, and they use that data to determine student growth in all subjects tested. Students are being compared to other students across the state with the same history, and then all students, regardless of their achievement level, have the opportunity to demonstrate all levels of growth.”

The superintendent went on to explain that SPGs are utilized as one of the multiple indicators in the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI), as well as the Teacher and Leader Keys Effectiveness System.

Caddell likewise reported that ABM upgrades to lighting have been made, along with the installation of hand dryers and building envelopes. Certain HVAC work has also begun.

“Remember, this project is funded through the energy savings we will receive from the project,” Caddell said. “The cost of the project, $7,190,925, will be paid back over the course of 15 years through energy and cost savings from utilizing more energy efficient products.

“The savings are risk-free and guaranteed. Any year that we do not realize savings to cover the cost of the financing, plus a guaranteed savings above and beyond that amount of $10,000, ABM will pay the dif- ference, so it’s truly a win-win,” she continued. “Our entire system gets updated with more energy efficient products, our elementary and primary gyms will be equipped with air conditioning, the board office gets new energy efficient windows, doors, and a new roof, and we have sanitary hand dryers in all the restrooms to name a few things, and we have no change to our budget.”

Students were also recognized for participating, and placing, in the Special Olympics. “They represented Wilkes County, very, very well,” Caddell praised.

The Lady Tigers tennis team was congratulated for beating the Lincolnton Red Devils in the area competition, as they will now head to state playoffs.

Caddell also included that teachers, staff, and board members are anticipating a fun, but safe prom, which will take place this weekend.

In closing, Finance Director DeDe Broome noted that SPLOST collections for the past month have increased, and that the alternative ad valorem taxes, received once a year, have come in.

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