11/10/06 — Facilities team gets first round of direction

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Facilities team gets first round of direction

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on November 10, 2006 1:45 PM

Two of the three committees empowered with reviewing facilities in the school system were given their marching orders Thursday night by the Facilities Master Plan Team.

Wayne County Schools Superintendent Dr. Steven Taylor called the session a chance to lay out the scope of responsibilities for the two committees -- educational process and facilities and real estate. A third committee, to determine financing construction projects, will meet once data has been compiled and reviewed.

The process is based on a report by Evergreen Solutions, a consulting firm hired by the county commission to assess the needs in the school system. The Facilities Master Plan Team, made up of representatives from the county commission and Board of Education, selected members for each of the focus committees.

"This process is important," Taylor said. "As we have looked at the Evergreen report, we're trying to follow that and end up with a facilities plan."

Taylor said the committees will have similar responsibilities and in turn will share information with one another. Time is of the essence to do the work, he added.

"We feel a sense of urgency in getting this done," he told the committees. "We are asking you to move this process along as quickly as possible. The sooner you get through your committee work, the sooner we can move forward."

With a $90 million facilities plan already approved by the school board, Taylor said he felt sure there would be some changes made. The recommendations will be taken under review, he said, with the final decision for the plan ultimately made by the school board.

Commissioner Jack Best, a member of the master plan team, said the most important factor to remember is the children and their future.

"Even though facilities are our focus, we are coming back to try and figure out where we are 10 years from today," he said.

Taylor said both committees would be charged with visiting all 31 public schools and gathering information on such aspects as capacity, programs and physical conditions of the existing buildings.

Dr. Sandra McCullen, associate superintendent for instruction, worked with the educational process focus committee and discussed its scope of responsibilities for the upcoming months.

"When we go to the schools, we'll ask the principals to show us the specific programs and how they affect the space," she said.

The biggest aspect, she noted, would be addressing whether or not existing or proposed facilities meet or do not meet the school system's educational goals.

Sprunt Hill, assistant superintendent for auxiliary services, met with the facilities and real estate focus committee and discussed their duties.

"We have got a monumental job that we have to accomplish as well," he said. "Our job is to go to every school, assess every building, look at everything there -- the age of the roofing, equipment, lighting, plumbing -- to make sure that our buildings are meeting the educational goals of Wayne County."

Taylor said the committees would meet with the master team as needed. The ideal would be to have the work completed before the end of the year, he said, although that may not be possible.

"I would rather get started, even if we don't finish," he said. "We know that everything will not be completed by Christmas but hopefully we can have the bulk of it under way."

Members of the educational process committee chosen to serve include Thea Williams, Joe Gurley, Fred Shadding, Gerald Simmons, Trey Taylor, Tommy Jarrett, Craig McFadden, Jim Parker, Sandra McCullen and Debbie Worley. The facilities and real estate committee members are Wes Seegars, Willette Wooten, Brant Brown, Ven Faulk, Judith McMillan, Randy Langston, Rick Stovall, Danny Langley, David Perry and Sprunt Hill.