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Request for new bleachers goes to school board

By Steve Huffman
Salisbury Post
EAST SPENCER ó North Rowan High School and Knox Middle School are both almost exactly 50 years old ó North opened in 1959 and Knox in 1958.
A lot has changed at the schools over the years, but one thing hasn’t ó the bleachers in the gyms.
They’ve been there for the duration, cumbersome wooden offerings that are now dated and hard to find parts for.
“They’re just old and worn out,” said Gene Miller, assistant superintendent for operations for the Rowan-Salisbury School System.
He said the bleachers are sometimes hard to roll back in when games are finished and fans have exited the gyms. Makeshift parts must be constructed by the school system’s maintenance workers to keep the bleachers operational.
All that will change if members of the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education give their blessing Monday to a request from Miller for new bleachers for North Rowan and Knox.
The request comes at the board’s regular monthly meeting at 110 S. Long St., East Spencer. The meeting starts at 5 p.m. with an hour-long closed session. The meeting is opened to the public at 6 p.m.
Miller is asking the board to approve a low bid of $141,828 for replacement of the bleachers at both schools. The bid was made by Learning Environments of Liberty.
If the bid is approved, installation will begin at the end of the school year and be finished by the time students return in August.
Miller said he’s worked with Learning Environments before and the company has a reputation for quality work.
“The price we got is excellent,” Miller said. “I was very pleasantly surprised.”
He said $300,000 was budgeted for the work, and the savings will likely mean that the school system can move to replace bleachers at another school.
Miller said that while the bid covers the cost of replacing bleachers at both schools, it won’t replace two full sets.
He said that several years ago, school workers removed one side of the bleachers at Knox so the gym might be better used for P.E. classes.
Therefore, the bid to replace the bleachers at Knox is for only one side, what the school currently has.
Miller said that at North Rowan, the seating capacity will be reduced by 80 from its current capacity of about 1,200. He said that is because the new bleachers are wider than the old ones ó constructed in an era before there was a burger joint on every corner.
The new bleachers must also be several feet farther back from the playing floor than the current bleachers. That’s a requirement of building codes intended to keep fans safe.
In other matters on the agenda for Monday’s meeting board members will:
– Be asked to approve bids for a new roof at Landis Elementary. The low bid of $98,868 was placed by Interstate Roofing of Statesville. The roof to be replaced covers a classroom building between the office and new building.
– Re-address the matter of the school board attorney attending bond forfeiture hearings. The matter was discussed by board members at their January meeting though no action was taken.
– Consider revisions to board policy pertaining to elementary and middle school instructional fees.
– Receive recommendations from the Middle School Task Force.
– Have a second reading concerning a student transfer policy.
– Receive a report concerning a short-term suspension policy at Henderson Independent High School for students who have been suspended for five to 10 days.
Contact Steve Huffman at 704-797-4222 or shuffman @salisburypost.com.

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