Coffee County Schools Superintendent Kelly Cobb outlined a 10-part, $12.15 million capital plan at a recent Board of Education meeting that included gym and lunchroom renovations, additional classrooms, security upgrades, upgraded playground facilities and more.
The first two parts in the plan—constructing a new gym plus adding a pitching and hitting facilities at Zion Chapel and building six additional classrooms, an administrative office and boys and girls restrooms at New Brockton High School— are already in progress. Both are due to increased enrollment and the gym at Zion Chapel not meeting AHSAA 2A classification requirements.
Cobb said the gym project is approximately 70 percent finished with an estimated completion date of Oct. 1, and the project is estimated to cost $4,325,000. The classroom addition project is estimated at $2,415,000 and will look similar to the new addition at New Brockton Elementary.
“It will have a storm shelter, and appearance wise it will look very similar to what you’ve seen in those classrooms,” Cobb said. She also added that because of this year’s spike in enrollment, they may have to make some adjustments along the way. The addition is expected to be complete by spring 2022.
The third part, replacing the HVAC systems throughout the district, is expected to cost around $400,000, to be pulled from ESSER funds, and to be completed by the summer of 2023. Cobb said the project will focus on systems 15-plus years old and will include a new unit and an air purification system.
“It’s a good project, and it’s one that needs to be done,” she said.
The fourth part of the capital plan is to renovate the gym at New Brockton Elementary School into a cafetorium to expand seating, again due to enrollment. The estimated cost is $750,000.
“When you have almost 800 kids on campus, the current lunchroom situation—even though it’s new—is not going to seat all those children. We felt like we had to bump that up,” Cobb said. “We’re currently not having that issue at the high school because it works a little different than elementary, but that is a possibility we’re going to have to look at.”
The fifth part of the plan consists of constructing a new lunchroom at Kinston School and renovating the old lunchroom into two new classrooms and a storage room, and the estimated cost is $2 million. Cobb said Kinston is currently not short on classrooms, but having the new lunchroom would allow them to do a renovation and have extra space if needed.
Renovating and adding dressing rooms in the gym at New Brockton High School is the sixth part of the plan at an estimated cost of $485,000, and continued security upgrades ($275,000) falls in at number seven.
“All of our front entrances and our main side entrances for students have the key fob entry that automatically locks, so we’ve done a good job with that,” Cobb said. “Every door on every campus has not received that, but every major door and side door for students has.”
A part of the plan for a few years now, but continually bumped due to the $1M price tag, has been replacing the bus shop due to substandard conditions of the existing building. Cobb said it’s a need the system has, but capacity issues and projects that improve student environments have to be prioritized. It was listed as the eighth part of the capital plan.
The ninth and tenth parts—constructing pitching and hitting facilities at Kinston School and upgrading playground equipment at each of the elementary schools in the county—each cost an estimated $250,000. Cobb said the playground equipment had also been on the plan for quite a while.
“We have a lot of elementary kids, and it’s important that they have adequate exercise and outdoor play. It’s nice to have those kinds of facilities on each campus,” she said. “We’re in a good place, but that’s another area that’s been in the plan for a while. There is a playground on each campus and an area for outdoor play, but it’s something we can improve on.”
System enrollment increased by 233 students
Overall, the system-wide student enrollment increased by 233 students with a total of 2,639 students enrolled on the fifth day of school. The 2020-2021 school year saw an increase of just 50 students.
Broken down by school, Kinston increased by eight students to 515 from 507; New Brockton Elementary increased by 93 students to 740 from 647; New Brockton High increased by 104 students to 591 from 487; and Zion Chapel increased by 28 students to 793 from 765.