Amanda Hipp

Ashe County High School Principal Amanda Hipp congratulates seniors who were approved for early graduation at the Ashe County Board of Education’s regular meeting Monday, Nov. 4.

JEFFERSON — The Ashe County Board of Education’s regular meeting was called to order at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 4, approving early graduation for several seniors and hearing updates on the middle school project, among other business.

At the start of the meeting, the board heard a request from Ashe County Principal Amanda Hipp to approve the early graduation for 21 seniors. After Hipp expressed her congratulations to those seniors, the board unanimously approved their early graduation.

Those seniors included the following: Bridgett Barnes, Kierra Blevins, Mackenzie Blowers, Katelyn Boggs, Jordan Brosius, Daniel Brown, Keith Calhoun, Chase Church, Sarah Corley, Boen Crouse, Joey Dixon, Ethan Farmer, Hannah Lail, Silas Powers, Bailey Saunders, Katherine Shaw, Keshia Shoemaker, Erika Simons, Justin Steffens, Ashely Tilley and Noah Worley.

“Congratulations for your achievement,” Board Chairman C.B. Jones said.

Larry Greene, architect for the Ashe County Middle School project, and Jason Herman, the project’s civil engineer, appeared before the board to share updates on rough grading at the site of the future building.

Greene said that a waterline for the Town of Jefferson has been discovered in the building area, which would have to be rerouted for rough grading to continue. Herman noted that the the waterline crosses the property at the shortest distance, and by rerouting the waterline now, it will allow for the installment of a T valve on the waterline to be used to supply water for the middle school in the future, which would have been necessary to install in a later stage of the project.

In total, Greene said the estimated cost to reroute the waterline was quoted at $62,773 by Vannoy Construction, the contractor handling the rough grading phase of the project, bringing the total cost of the contract to $711,773 and extending the time of completion to Jan. 30.

Herman then noted that rough grading is approximately two-thirds complete in around one-third of the expected time of completion. Considering how quickly Vannoy Construction is preparing the site for next phase, Herman requested that the board would permit $213,000 in additional grading to reduce the amount of dirt that would need to be removed before construction begins in the next phase.

Herman added that the additional grading is not an extra cost as it would have to be completed in the next phase of the project, but since Vannoy Construction is ahead of schedule, it would be beneficial to go ahead and finish grading now.

The board of education then unanimously approved both change orders to the contract.

Maintenance Director Jerry Baker also presented to the board with a consideration to bury the power lines currently located above a new athletic field at Ashe County High School. The property for the field was purchased with funds received after Ashe County Schools sold the site of the WCC: Ashe Campus expansion project to Wilkes Community College, ACS Superintendent Phyllis Yates said.

Currently, Yates said $93,000 is available in that account, which the board expressed interest in using to pay for the proposed power line project. The board then requested for Baker to research a total estimated cost for the project and report back to the board.

For superintendent comments, Yates shared a reminder that Ashe County Schools will hold its inaugural “State of the Schools” event at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, in the auditorium of Ashe County High School.

She also announced that ACS was named a National Board Accomplished District by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

The next regular meeting of the Ashe County Board of Education is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2, at the ACS central office’s annex building.

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