Alpine ISD Board of Trustees on Feb. 24 welcomed newly hired Chief Financial Officer Clay Braden, who will officially start his duties on May 24.
Braden, a Texas Tech University student, will replace previous CFO Tucker Durham, and will be working periodically for training before his official start date.
In other news, Frank Patton, construction superintendent for Weatherford-based general contractor Imperial Construction, updated trustees on the high school construction. He said concrete will be poured and asbestos removed, starting in the band hall moving toward the welding shop. Demolition should begin in about a month.
Trustees then went on to approve a change request to add ceiling grid and tile in the kitchen and locker rooms following asbestos abatement. The school district had previously set aside $300,000 in contingency costs in the event of additional construction expenses.
Superintendent Becky McCutchen said about $35,540 would be deducted from the contingency amount, and it would also include installing an automatic fire sprinkler system at a cost of around $13,856.
Parkhill senior architect Les Burke stated architectural drawings were turned over to the City of Alpine on Sept. 1, but there was a delay with city building official David Hale to inspect them. Hale had recently spoken to Burke and Imperial Construction, and all agreed that adding additional fire protection was needed for safety issues.
Board President, Dist. 1, Eddie Natera questioned why the code requirements were not addressed previously.
He added, “Why are we just finding about this now? Did we not have a thorough inspection? If that is the case, what other code stuff will you end up finding?”
Parkhill architect Allan Wolf countered that unforeseen issues come up, and not all are covered in the architectural drawings. He admitted it was a “complicated project,” but said the health and safety of students was taken seriously. Trustees then approved the construction change request 4-1, with Joe Portillo, Dist. 2, voting nay. Board Secretary Justin Cross was absent.
Finally, McCutchen presented the financial report, and indicated that as of Feb. 11, attendance was good across the school district. That would make the $600,000 deficit easier to deal with.
She then announced that due to COVID-19, Texas Education Agency had mandated that all districts and campuses would not be rated this year. However, although the A-F ratings will not be assigned, accountability data will still be used for next year’s ratings.
The next regularly scheduled Board of Trustees meeting is set for Wednesday, March 24, at 5:30 p.m. at the Alpine Elementary School cafeteria.