Architect Rowland Miller of Ross Tarrant Architects in Lexington addressed facility needs of the Bell County School District during the district’s facilities planning committee meeting on Thursday.
Ross Tarrant Architects specialize in architectural services dealing with educational facilities in Kentucky. The Bell County Board of Education asked the firm to evaluate each school facility in the district.
In his report, Miller stated the majority of the facility did not present many, if any, red flags. Frakes, Lone Jack, Page and Right Fork checked out with hardly any problems. Due to student enrollment, Miller stated Lone Jack actually had an extra classroom available.
The main schools that needed facility improvements were Yellow Creek, Bell Central and Bell High. The problem at Yellow Creek is primarily caused by the number of students attending the school.
According to Miller, Yellow Creek was built to hold 425 students. In 2012, the school had 527 students. Miller stated the school needs two pre-school classrooms, four elementary school classrooms and two resource classrooms.
Miller said an additional wing may be necessary to meet the needs. Yellow Creek Principal Jerry Lawson stated the school did move two kindergarten classes inside the building.
Miller also said the media center at Yellow Creek is a little small. He said about 720 square feet needs to be added to meet Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) standards.
Besides the need for additional classrooms and a bigger media center, Miller stated Yellow Creek met all the other requirements for a 550 student capacity school.
Miller said all schools did well in the mechanical and electrical area. He stated there could be some energy saving initiatives that would help, but no giant red flags were found.
Bell County Maintenance and Transportation Director Tom Gambrel stated at Lone Jack, the staff needs to be able to turn off sections of lights. Currently, all lights have to be either on or off as they are controlled by one switch.
Problems found at Bell Central and Bell High School were mainly due to the ages of the buildings. Both schools were built in the 1980s and have not had major renovations since that time.
The plumbing systems at the schools need upgrades. Drinking fountains need to meet ADA requirements. HVAC systems need work as well.
Miller also stated the schools need secure entry vestibules.
At Bell Central, Miller said the school needs two pre-school classrooms inside the facility. The school currently has pre-school classrooms located in mobile classrooms.
Information concerning the Bell district facility plan will be in the Tuesday edition of the Daily News.
Anthony Cloud can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 606-248-1010, ext. 208.