Community reacting to education influence during future BRAC – Tom Whaylen

The status of security enhancements to the Enterprise City Schools was among agenda items at the Enterprise City Council work session Oct. 28.

Enterprise Board of Education member Ross Cotter said projects on-going at the city’s elementary schools and Dauphin Junior High School have resulted in state-of-the-art security. “The architect said we have the safest school in the state,” agreed EBOE member Gloria Jones.

“Fundamentally, if our environment is safe and secure our students will learn better,” added Enterprise School’s Assistant Superintendent Greg Faught. “And the parents feel better.”

Wright, Faught, Cotter, Jones and Schools Maintenance Supervisor Matt Routley, briefed the council on the construction projects that are part of the system’s overall capital plan.

“None of this would have been possible without your foresight a year and a half ago,” Wright told the council. “We would not have been able to afford this on our own.”

Cotter told the council that meetings are held with the subcontractors on the on-going construction projects every two weeks. “That is the best way to keep everyone accountable,” Cotter said. “Another thing the citizens need to know is that change orders are less than half of 1 percent on these projects and that’s pretty phenomenal.”

Wright added that she is very pleased with the quality of workmanship. “When we have new students and parents come in to see our schools, it just sets a different tone when they see these school buildings.

“Holly Hill needed a safe entrance, so it was important to have that safe entry,” Wright said, adding that the building is also being reroofed. The $1,586,975 project is 94 percent complete.

Rucker Boulevard and Pinedale Elementary Schools both had cramped office space so the renovations included using classroom space near the office to expand them,” Wright said.

Newly installed security entrances at both schools are about 98 percent complete. Pinedale’s new gym, which is also an ICC-500-rated storm shelter, is expected to be complete by the end of April.

Eight new classrooms at the Enterprise Early Education Center, four of which will serve as part of the school’s ICC-500-rated shelter, are being built. That $1,557,000 project is 68 percent complete, Wright said. The project is expected to be completed by the end of March 2016.

Dauphin Junior High School’s new safe entrance and a new ICC-500-rated shelter, which will double as a cafeteria, are expected to be finished in July. A major overhaul of the Dauphin office is 98 percent complete, Wright said. The estimated cost of the project is $2,376,112.

Bids for the new Coppinville Junior High School could be let by early next year, Wright said, adding that an exterior design for the new building has been developed, as well as a “rough sketch” for the interior of the new building. “We are now ready to take basic exterior design and start detailing the kind of space we want for each classroom,” Wright said. “We’re getting down to the nuts and bolts of it now.”

Enterprise Mayor Kenneth Boswell encouraged the EBOE staff and board members to keep the construction updates on the schools’ website, noting that prospective residents look at websites to garner a profile of an area.

“I commend you for moving at the pace you have from the standpoint of safety and security,” he said.

Boswell said he was in Washington, D.C. recently to meet with the Friends of Fort Rucker consultant Anthony Principi, a former Base Realignment and Closure Commission Chairman. “He reiterated that education is going to be at the forefront of the decision making when BRAC does occur—not if—but when BRAC occurs,” Boswell said.

“We cannot overlook the 800 pound elephant in the room,” Boswell added. “Fort Rucker is the Mercedes Benz of the Wiregrass and we want to make sure that our nation’s defense is always first and foremost, but it’s important that when soldiers transfer in that they absolutely know that their children are going to be looked after.”

Shared from  The Southeast Sun, Enterprise, Alabama