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Davis, DCHS getting renovated media centers

Dr. Cleta Long announced on Oct. 19 at the Dade County Schools Board of Education meeting that bids to remodel Davis Elementary’s Media Center and Dade County High School’s Media Center have been sent out.


Long said that the goal of the remodel is to create a better space for children to learn by allowing the media centers to be more than just libraries. Long also said she wanted students to get excited about going to the media center to learn.


 “The media center is not just books anymore,” Long said. “This will encourage reading and encourage learning.”


Long showed renderings of the plans for the media center at Davis. The room is set up with multiple rows of desks at one end to have the potential to be used as a classroom. There is also going to be a computer lab area, a new desk for the Media Specialist and couches set up in every corner of the room, which DCS calls “cozy corners”.


Long said the media center at DCHS is focused more on research and computers. There will be areas for projects and group work, a new circulation desk in the middle of the media center and booths for students to collaborate on assignments.


 “This is another way of us being able to encourage students to use their media center not only through reading but for projects and collaboration and to grow their ability to do research, which will be required of them if they go to college,” Long said.


“I think you’re giving young children a place to go that’s warming for them,” DCS At-Large Member Bob Woods said. “Congratulations.”


The board planned to approve plans to build a basement area in the new Rock Building at Davis Elementary School. However, Architect Ken Harless had some bad news.


In order to build the basement to the 6,000 square foot specifications the board desires, a ton of rock removal would have to take place by blasting or using a jackhammer, a move that could damage the existing buildings on the campus.


“The site builders I’ve talked to would not be comfortable with that,” Harless said. “I would not be comfortable with that either.”


Harless said there were two other options for the basement situation. The first option would be to cut the square footage to 3,500, which would mean far less rock removal and likelihood of damage to the existing structures.


The second option – removing the basement idea altogether.


“That’s not ideal,” Board Member Daniel Case said.


“I hate to delay it any further but I want it done and I want it done the right way,” Board Member John Warren said.


“Let’s see if we can maximize that basement space,” Ken,” Let me work on that a little bit.”


Case made the motion to delay approval of the basement until some sort of compromise could be worked out.


DCS Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jan Irons Harris said the BOE will be using gov deals, a government surplus website commonly used by Dade and Trenton Commissioners, for the first time in order to surplus a 1994 Massey Ferguson Tractor and loader deemed unsafe for operation. 


DCHS Cheerleading Coach Josh Hurst approached the BOE asking for the money to purchase a new Tricaster, which is a type of broadcasting equipment used for live video production. Hurst said this purchase will allow students to combine multiple audio and video files together for a live broadcast. The cost of the new equipment will be $12,995.


“Why is this better [than the old equipment] just out of curiosity?” Woods said.


“The old one is dead,” Hurst said. “The new one will do 4k streaming, 4k video inputs. It’s as good you can get.”


The BOE ultimately approved the request and will provide the money necessary to purchase the equipment.


Harris approached the board about an urgent cable replacement needed for all six basketball goals in the DCHS gym.


 “This needs to be addressed immediately,” Harris said.


The BOE received three bids ranging from $11,790 to $14,000. Fahrney opted for the $12,000 bid from AALCO, adding that DCHS Boys Basketball Coach Mark Whitt has worked with them in the past and praised their work.


A personnel report was released after the BOE returned from executive session.


LaKala Willingham resigned from her position as a teacher at Dade Middle School.


A leave request was made by Blake Crisp.


Kayleigh Dickerson was hired as an aftercare employee.


Loran Grasham was hired as a paraprofessional at Davis.


Rodney Cartwright and Jerry Giles were hired as part-time custodians.


Mike Beeler was hired as a temporary full-time maintenance employee.


Cheryl Morgan was hired as a part-time bus driver.


Jimmy Gallman was named a DMS assistant basketball coach for the boys’ team.


Tammy Stevens was named a DCHS assistant basketball coach for the boys’ team.


Darlene Gregory was named a part-time Medicaid clerk.


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