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Henry County School Board approves over $2.1 million in new expenditures

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As the school year comes to a close, the Henry County School Board committed over $2.1 million in new expenditures at a regular meeting on Thursday.

The greatest share of expenses approved will go to replace the domestic water heating system at Magna Vista High School. Director of Facilities Maintenance Keith Scott told the Board that bids were solicited and out of three firms that attended the pre-bid meeting, only one response was received.

Valley Boiler & Mechanical Inc. from Roanoke was the lone bidder and received the contract in the amount of $448,000.

Next on the list of approved new expenditures is the replacement of a 1992 International/Holmes five-ton wrecker that is used to recover vehicles that have broken down or been involved in crashes.

Assistant Superintendent for Operations and Administrative Services David Scott said the wrecker has also been used in the past to assist other county agencies in the transportation of vehicles, but the weight of buses has increased over the years and the current wrecker is no longer adequate.

“This wrecker also does not allow us to tow from the rear of a bus, making it necessary to outsource the towing if the rear wheels are inoperable,” said Scott. “In addition, the manufacturer of the wrecker body is no longer in business, making it difficult to acquire parts.”

Scott said a bid for a new 20-ton unit was sent out to replace the 30-year-old wrecker and only one business responded.

The Board approved the purchase of a new wrecker from Matheny Motor Truck Company of Woodbridge at a price of $392,718.

Bids also were solicited to add air conditioning to the kitchens at Fieldale-Collinsville Middle School and the Center for Community Learning. The work will include replacing the existing ceiling and updating the lighting. One response was received among the three firms that attended the pre-bid meeting.

The Board awarded the contract to Piedmont Mechanical from Collinsville for $342,996.

With the summer months ahead of us, the Board awarded a grounds maintenance services contract for $338,890 to Gammons Lawn Care of Ridgeway. The works is to include mowing, trimming, leaf collection for all lawns and fields, pruning of shrubs and trees and plant beds, and weed control for all mulched and paved areas.

Gammons Lawn Care also will be in charged of turf maintenance on all of the high school and middle school football and baseball fields. Scott said that two businesses submitted bids.

Piedmont Mechanical also received the contract to add air conditioning to the gym at Fieldale-Collinsville Middle School for $282,518. Scott said the existing system is a heating and ventilation system with steam heat and the replacement “will improve the comfort and indoor air quality” in the gym. Only one bid for the project was received.

Wood Produce Company in Meadows of Dan was selected by the Board as the vendor for the next school year to provided fresh fruits, vegetables and fresh eggs to the school cafeterias for $270,000.

Scott told the Board that Wood’s Produce had “provided excellent services with fair prices for the past five years” and was the one company to bid for the business.

Because of the long lead times involved in receiving new equipment, Scott told the Board that the administration recommended they purchase the rooftop air conditioning equipment for Fieldale-Collinsville Middle School separately from the contract to install it in hopes of shortening the time involved to complete the project.

Trane of Roanoke already holds an agreement with the County of Henry and the school system to purchase such equipment and provided a quote for $113,355 for two rooftop units and the Board approved accepting the quote.

In other matters, the Board:

Heard a budget update from Scott in which he said the combination of scale adjustments and step increases will provide and average increase in pay of more than eight percent for teachers and for those who have reached the top of the scale, a percentage increase will be given in lieu of a step advancement. Scott also said the staring salary for a first-year, fully-licensed teacher will be $45,537 and those at the top 28th step will be paid $63,306.

Adopted guidelines for acceptable use of technology that makes the use of personal electronic devices such as: cellular telephones, smartwatches, electronic games and other forms of electronic communication tools in violation of school policy during the instructional day. High school students will be permitted to use their devices during their breakfast and lunch times if the administrators at their specific school allow it. Dress standards for the upcoming school year also were adopted.

Accepted Superintendent Sandy Strayer’s recommendation that Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Lisa Millner be authorized to sign all documents and correspondence in the absence of the superintendent.

Heard a report from Strayer that included enrollment numbers for April 2022 at 6,575 students, down from 6,580 in March and down from 6,655 a year ago.

Were reminded of the following dates:

  • May 10, DaCapo program—10 a.m., Magna Vista High School
  • May 27, Magna Vista High School graduation—7 p.m.
  • May 28, Bassett High School graduation—9 a.m.
  • May 30, school board holiday
  • June 3, VSBA School Law Conference, Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa Short Pump or Hybrid
  • June 9, monthly meeting—9 a.m., Summerlin Meeting Room, Henry County Administration Building
  • June 20, school board holiday
  • June 23, special meeting—9 a.m., Summerlin Meeting Room, Henry County Administration Building
  • July 4, school board holiday
  • July 14, monthly meeting—9 a.m., Summerlin Meeting Room, Henry County Administration Building
  • July 14, school board retreat—11 a.m., School Board meeting room, Henry County Administration Building

Bill Wyatt is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. He can be reached at 276-638-8801, Ext. 2360. Follow him @billdwyatt.

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