By Toni Stauffer
Seawell McKee, an architect representing the architecture firm McKee and Associates out of Montgomery, spoke before the Russell County Board Education on Oct. 23 about a few projects that have been proposed. The first project he discussed is the project for the training center on Poorhouse Road. He said an inspection of the roof system needs to be done first, because the State requires that a structural engineer sign off on the system before any bids can be submitted.
Additionally, due to the substantial amount of wiring and conduit that is in the building, it should be inspected to see if it passes code. The inspections, according to McKee, will save the County a “tremendous amount of money.” The first proposal is for two electrical and structural engineers from the firm to do both inspections to determine what is needed, if anything, to satisfy the State.
Board President, John Keith Mitchell (Dist. 2—Ladonia), requested to add an option for paving the drive for the Training Center from the south gate to the admin building. McKee said that his company discussed that option with the staff and that it would cost several thousand dollars to get a paver on site.
Another project discussed was about the roof of Ladonia Elementary. McKee said that the school has a modified ballasted roof, and that there is only one roof on the existing roof. He presented two options. The first option is that a second roof can be added by code since there is only one existing roof, which will save significant money by doing a roof overlay. The 20-year leak-proof warranty is the same with either option.
“The negative is that while Board will be able to save money now with the overlay, 20-25 years from now you will have to take both of the roof systems off and do it,” said McKee.
An overlay also has the advantages of school not being interrupted for installation and added protection from storms.
McKee said the Board can bid both ways without any additional cost. The Board approved $4,000 for the inspections and plans for the Training Center and the Ladonia Elementary Re-roofing project.
Ambulance for RCHS football games
Russell County Commissioner Chance Corbett (Dist. 6) appeared before the Board to clarify the possibility of having an ambulance at the Russell County High School football games.
“For years, the ambulance service ran out of Phenix City. There were three ambulances services located in the county that would rotate. They would leave Phenix City and run all over to Hurtsboro, Pittsview, or wherever,” Corbett said. “Now there is an ambulance in Seale. That is a project I was directly involved in. The idea was to cut down about 15-20 minutes on the response time. That works great and I feel like it has probably saved lives.”
Corbett said the problem for the County is making the ambulance service in Seale go to the football games for free; also, if the ambulance pulls out of the gate for a call, the game has to stop, according to the rules.
“That means we are taking away the ambulance for the County by putting it at the football games,” said Corbett. He went on to say that the ambulance services rates have gone up from $100 to $125 per hour for three hours minimum of game time.
“That’s expensive, but unfortunately, it’s something we have to do,” said Corbett. “I can’t speak for the County Commission. I’m just one Commissioner, but my feeling is that we don’t need to pull that ambulance out of service to put it at a football game and take it away from the citizens of the County.” Corbett confirmed that if an ambulance is hired, the ambulance company brings in a dedicated ambulance and crew for the game.
“If the game goes long, or there is a weather delay, they do not charge anything extra,” said Corbett.
“I think for the service to the community, to the county, and the close proximity to the two schools here and the elementary schools in the area, it’s a plus,” said Board President Mitchell. “I don’t think we should ask for any freebies.”
Keeping Kids Safe Online
Russell County Schools Technology Director Fabian Bauerschmidt gave a presentation about the plan in place to keep students safe while they are working online at school. Schools have to follow the guidelines set down by the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), which was enacted by Congress in 2000. Bauerschmidt shared how his department works with Russell County schools to keep our students safe online in accordance with CIPA:
• An Acceptable Use Policy is signed by all students.
• State guidelines are used for teaching digital citizenship.
• Safe Search is mandatory on Google and YouTube.
• The administration has the capability to disable services such as google+, google
hangouts, and other social media platforms.
• Students are not allowed to install software, which prevents malware and spyware.
• A subscription to Sophos antivirus is maintained.
• The IBOSS Content Filter is used to block all inappropriate sites hosted and managed by Alabama Supercomputer.
• K-6 Student email accounts are blocked from sending or receiving emails outside of the district.