The Pike County Schools Board of Education approved a districtwide facility plan for the first time in nearly a decade, and the plan details the upgrades that the district plans to make to its school buildings over the next four years and beyond.
Barry Birchfield, the district’s director of pupil personnel, said that this most recent facility plan started in 2017, and it was discussed and sent back and forth to the Kentucky Department of Education, which provided input on possible changes to the plan. The district’s committee decided on the priorities for the plan, and Birchfield said that it involved the input of many different people from the district and the community, including community members, teachers, parents and other people from the district.
“It’s a good mix of people from our community, both in the education field and not in the education field,” Birchfield said. “The job, basically, is to determine the needs that we have in our district or some of the greater needs, and then we put on there what those needs are.”
This is the first time that the district has approved a facility plan in over a decade. Birchfield said that the last facility plan in Pike County was approved in 2004.
The facility plan outlines the district’s priorities for repairs, renovations and upgrades on its school buildings within and after the next four years. The plan also lists the district’s general needs for construction projects, though these are not currently scheduled, and the current capacity of the school buildings, compared to 2019 student enrollment.
According to the facility plan, Belfry Elementary, Millard School and Mullins Elementary are over capacity, based on 2019 student enrollment and the school’s student capacity. In 2019, Belfry Elementary had a capacity of 550 students, with 561 students enrolled. Millard School had a capacity of 542 students, with 656 students enrolled. Mullins Elementary had a capacity of 783 students, with 797 students enrolled.
After the board approved the plan, it would be sent back to the Kentucky Department of Education, and the district will receive a packet of information in order to hold a public forum before the renovations start. Once the public forum is held, Birchfield said, the district will soon be able to use funding to complete the projects.
“We do have some pressing needs that we’d like to get started on as soon as possible, one HVAC (system) in Shelby Valley High School and the roof in Pike Central,” Birchfield said. “I’ve already been talking to Summit (Engineering), and they have the specs done for both of those jobs. Hopefully, we’ll get a quick turn around, and we’ll get bids in so we can start those projects.”
The district’s construction priorities scheduled within 2022 and 2024 include “major renovations” to the roof, gutters and downspouts of Pike Central High School, which will cost about $1,192,196. Another priority listed in there plan includes “major renovations” to the HVAC systems and controls in Shelby Valley High School, which is estimated to cost about $1,456,352. The last main priority to complete within the next four years includes “major renovations” to the HVAC systems and controls in the gymnasium of Phelps High School, which is estimated to cost about $672,000.
Within the next four years, the district will need to upgrade the doors and hardware in eight of its school facilities in order to comply with Senate Bill 1 (2019), according to the plan. The eight school facilities include Phelps High, Belfry Vocational School - Phelps Satellite, Belfry Middle, Bevins Elementary, Dorton Elementary, Johns Creek Elementary, Kimper Elementary, and Millard Vocational School (in flood plain). The cost estimate for this project will be about $570,000 in total, based on the plan’s project estimates.
After the next four years, the district plans to provide renovations and upgrades to 11 of its school facilities, including Phelps High, Pike Central High, Belfry Vocational School, Belfry Vocational School - Phelps Satellite, Belfry Middle, Bevins Elementary, Dorton Elementary, Feds Creek Elementary, Johns Creek Elementary, Kimper Elementary and Mullins Elementary.
For Mullins Elementary, in particular, the district seeks to construct four standard-sized classrooms, which will cost about $1,084,719.
The district plans to upgrade the fire alarm, emergency lighting systems and/or building security camera systems in Phelps High, Pike Central High, Belfry Vocational, Belfry Vocational - Phelps Satellite, Belfry Middle, Bevins Elementary, Johns Creek Elementary, Kimper Elementary, Millard Vocational (in flood plain), Feds Creek Elementary, Central Office building and the Pike County Bus Garage. Collectively, this is estimated to cost nearly $3.5 million.
The district’s general construction needs, which are also listed in the plan, include three standard classrooms built in Valley Elementary School, one auditorium for Pike Central High School, Phelps High School and Shelby Valley High School and “major renovations” to Millard Vocational School (in flood plain), which includes roof, gutters, downspouts, interior finishes, lighting, electrical systems, plumbing fixtures windows and HVAC and controls. These renovations are listed in the plan, but are not currently scheduled.