Additional work may be needed at TAD ballfields
Just days after the official ribbon cutting of the new T.A. Dugger Junior High School Michael D. Whitehead Sports Complex, the Elizabethton Board of Education approved the next phase of construction on the fields.
The school board unanimously approved a change order to the contract for the Elizabethton High School capital project contract to add the potential new construction at the TAD ball fields. The contractor for the EHS projects, Goins Rash Cain, also worked on the TAD complex.
Assistant Superintendent Richard VanHuss said the additional work would include concrete sidewalks in the concourse area around the field and would look at the price of lighting the fields.
“There is some concern that the playing fields may not be ADA complaint without some sidewalk addition,” VanHuss said.
Sidewalks would be added around the scorer’s tower and the dugouts and along the third base line of the baseball field and first base line of the softball field. The work would also include a storm The school water drainage collection basin and the downspouts would be directed toward a central drain in the new sidewalk system. VanHuss said that would help eliminate some of the drainage problems that have been found on the field.
He said he had also heard some requests for additional lighting at the field and that would also be considered during the bid process for the sidewalks.
“It was included in the original design but as you know at the time the bids came in, it was much higher than we anticipated and the funding we had,” VanHuss said. “It may look like we have gone back, and we made some kind of mistake by not including it to begin with. We could do less work than the scope we have here but I don’t think any of us would be satisfied with that.”
The concrete would be placed over the areas that are currently graveled. VanHuss said this may also help to cut down on potential vandalism incidents by removing rocks that some children may be tempted to throw.
The board unanimously approved extending the contract to allow Goins Rash Cain to get bids and pricing for the sidewalks and lighting. The bids will be brought back to the board for final approval before any work begins.
The school board also approved a contract with Physical Therapy Services for physical and occupational therapy for special needs students on a 3-1 vote.
Board member Catherine Armstrong left the board meeting early to attend Maundy Thursday services at her church and did not vote. She did express some displeasure with the contract while she was at the meeting.
Armstrong said she could not support the contract because it included an increase in the fee for the services. The current fee is $20 per unit of service, which is 20 minutes. The fee is an increase of $2 per unit of service from last year.
Director of Special Education, RTI, and Guidance Services Corey Gardenhour said the increase was the first in the seven years the system had worked with the company. He said the company had to cover travel expenses and employee’s salaries for their trips to the schools.
Board member Connie Baker questioned some of the billing practices associated with the therapy. She said she had been contacted by some parents who had their own personal insurance and had insurance offered through the school system. She said the parents had told her both of their insurance companies had been billed by the therapy provider.
“Both insurance companies should not be charged,” Baker said. “I have heard that they are.”
Board member Grover May said if patients have two insurance providers, the primary provider will be billed first. The secondary provider will be billed second and may pick up any charges, such as copays, that the primary provider did not cover.
Gardenhour said the service was optional for parents. He said when the system was developing individual education plans for the students, the parents were given the choice to have therapy provided during school hours if it was a more convenient option for them.
“Some choose to do it during school hours because it is more convenient,” Gardenhour said. “They may not have a way to get their child to therapy after school. Some parents do have additional therapy outside of school in the evenings and during the summer. We focus on what we can do for the students while they were at school.”
He added that since the system had switched to the current method of providing therapy, the ECS had saved between $25,000 and $40,000 a year and was able to maintain the same level of services.
Board chair Rita Booher, Phil Isaacs and May voted for the contract and Baker voted against.
The board approved contracts with John Angelopoulos doing business as Human Development Counseling, Dana Skaggs doing business as New Day Psychological Services, Kim Hall and Susan Bruner for counseling and psychological services to the students.