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Weaver High renovations to last through summer

School board approves spending to fix roof problem

Renovations at Weaver High School, once scheduled for completion by the end of the school year, will go on through the summer due to a problem with a building’s roof, school leaders learned at a Calhoun County School Board meeting Thursday.

In a unanimous vote, board members gave the go-ahead to a $350,000 project to replace the roof at what’s known as Building No. 1 on Weaver campus — work that wasn’t in the original construction plan. The top floor of the building houses 12 classrooms and the home economics department.

“The roof’s not collapsing,” said Lee Bryant, an architect for Lanett Associates, which is working on the project. “But if we have this conversation three years from now it will be a different story.”

Contractors have been working on a $12 million renovation project at the school since 2016, with a plan to finish this year. Replacing the roof wasn’t in the plan. According to Bryant, workers on the project discovered flaws in the roof of Building No. 1.

Bryant said builders had used lightweight concrete supported by a non-porous metal sheet. That’s not a typical arrangement for roofing, Bryant said: Concrete absorbs water and over time can cause rust in the metal.

Bryant urged school board members to halt construction on the project until summer, when the building will be empty and re-roofing can begin.

In other business, the board agreed to hire an architect to look into renovations to Pleasant Valley High School’s school-side entrance that would involve walling in the external staircases that carry much of the school’s foot traffic.

School leaders said it’s part of a year-long effort to patch security gaps at county schools, many of which were built with easy access in mind, before the rise of school shootings. Board members said schools have added magnetic locks at many of the area’s high schools and would soon move on to add new cameras at elementary schools. School officials didn’t have an estimate of the total cost of the security-oriented work Thursday night; as for Pleasant Valley, that project is still in the planning stage and doesn’t have a price tag, interim Superintendent Jon Paul Campbell said.

In other business, the school board set a date for interview with its four candidates for superintendent. Interviews will begin March 11 at 3 p.m. or later, Campbell said, with a fallback date of March 18 if not every candidate can make it. Board members said they liked the late afternoon schedule.

“Last time, we did it in the middle of the school day,” said board member Michael Webb. “I’d rather have it in the afternoon so teachers can make it if they want to.”

The board also approved a calendar for the 2019-2020 school year. School would start Aug. 5 and end May 21. Spring break would be held the week of March 23, 2020.


Capitol & statewide reporter Tim Lockette: 256-294-4193. On Twitter @TLockette_Star.