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School board to move, sell site

BY KATHLEEN FOX kfox@paducahsun.com

The McCracken County school board approved a much discussed cost-saving motion to move the central office on 435 Berger Road to the former Reidland Middle School.

The board on Thursday approved the relocation of the central office and declaration of the property as surplus after the current school year. The request will be sent to the Kentucky Department of Education for approval. The district would decide the method of placing the land for sale, either in one or many parcels, according to attorney Gorman Bradley.

Superintendent Nancy Waldrop said the district expects to receive state approval within a month and begin moving in June. County officials will then clean, paint, analyze the existing furniture and make any needed repairs after students vacate the Reidland building. The available property was freed up due to the approved local facility plan amendments, which will reconfigure students in the Reidland area and create an intermediate school within the next two years.

Following the end of this school year, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade Reidland students will move to the newer side of the former high school complex, leaving the middle school building empty. The next year, fourth- and fifth-grade students at Reidland Elementary School will move to the other side.

Waldrop expects the move to take six to eight weeks over the summer in stages, beginning with technology and the Infinite Campus program and then all student and district records.

She emphasized the savings for the district in using an existing building for central office operations. The move will save $175,000 annually in utility costs and repairs to the current location, according to Waldrop.

The board voted to purchase the property, which included 26 acres, 55,000 square feet and eight buildings, for $3 million in December 2000, less than $800,000 less than the appraised price. The central office moved to the new location, the former site of Charter Behavioral Health System, because the existing headquarters site on Bleich Road was too small. The district spent $250,000 in moving and refurbishing costs and completed the move by fall 2001, according to Sun files.

In a related motion, the board approved the movement of the McCracken County alternative education Open Campus Program, also currently in the complex on Berger Road, to the former Heath Middle School building on Metropolis Lake Road as of August.

The change will also be sent to the state for approval, according to Director of Pupil Personnel Russ Tilford.

He said the program would use the library, office and several classrooms and share the cafeteria with the current adjacent Health Middle School.

In other meeting business, the board approved the 2015 year tentative budget, which includes 1 percent raises for all staff members. The board approved the purchase of 120 new teacher work station laptops at the high school for about $930 each to replace those not up-to-date according to the state requirement of five years old or newer.

Members also accepted the summer feeding program for county schools for the upcoming summer, which provides breakfast and lunch at no cost for students participating in summer programs. The district will begin a Community Eligibility Provision, which provides two free meals daily to all students, at Hendron-Lone Oak Elementary School this fall. The program is already in place at Farley Elementary School.

Contact Kathleen Fox, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8651 or follow @kathleendfox on Twitter.

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