Henson offers resignation, football field to receive new turf

By Marci Watson, Staff Writer:

At the monthly meeting of the Fannin Count Board of Education; School Superintendent Mark Henson tendered his resignation. Citing his reason the BOE was in capable hands in regards to leadership and his confidence in “the next four years and tickled everyone [on the board] is coming back it’s time for someone new”, he said.

“Having a good, solid board is a good thing especially for a new superintendent. I’m going to retire on June 30, 2017 because I think now is the time for me to let somebody else come in. I feel comfortable about it, I love this job, I don’t want to go, but it’s the right thing to do.

“I couldn’t have made it my first two years as a new superintendent without having Mr. Bearden as Chair.” Henson then recognized the rest of the board members and their contribution to his growth and management of the school system. “I have been a school superintendent for 10 years, an administrator for 21 years, I’ve been in this office for 17 years–it’s time for new blood”, he said.

A BOE briefly reminisced and expressed regret at the news Henson had just announced. A few of the board members became a bit emotional but held their tears for more private moments.

On the BOE agenda, the following transpired:

Sam Walker of Alpha Surveying Group contested the BOE's assurance the Ag/Env Sciences building would not be built in the flood plain.
Sam Walker of Alpha Surveying Group contested the BOE’s assurance the Ag/Env Sciences building would not be built in the flood plain.

In Public Comments surveyor Sam Walker of Alpha Surveying Group addressed the board regarding the flood plain in relationship of the new Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (AES) building scheduled to be constructed on the school system’s Ada Street property. Walker representing his brother, Larry Brown, the property-owner adjoining the school system’s property disagreed with the BOE on how the flood plain was configured. Maintaining the proposed structure will be built directly in the flood plain, not 14 feet above it; was Walker’s position on the subject.

Armed with his own maps and survey drawings, Walker described how the construction would cause flooding further down the stream and affect Brown’s property and the natural environment of the stream. Respectfully, Walker offered to consult with the engineers hired by the BOE about the flood plain footprint.

Surplus equipment from FCHS, FCMS, and BRES received no bids prompting the schools to seek approval from the board to change the status to salvage so it could be disposed. The equipment consisted of VCRs, DVD players, CD players, analog TVs, projectors, cassette players and TV carts; all the equipment was late model technology. Equipment from the Technology Dept. was approved as salvage which consisted of 64 laptop computers, two printers and one desktop computer. The Transportation Dept. sold older school buses and vans at public auction on Nov. 1, netting a total of $28,300 after paying a $1,000 auction fee.

Approval by the board was granted to the Technology Dept. for the purchase of computers and hardware for FCMS and FCMS. The purchases will be 66 desktop computers and monitors for $44,203.50 will be utilized in the computer lab of the middle school. FCHS will receive 110 Chromebook computers and three charging carts at the cost of $32,006.90, both technology purchases will be funded through SPLOST.

A new lock/security system will be installed at FCHS. At the elementary schools, visitors must pass through a lock-system to protect the safety of the students. The only exception is the high school. A Salto-brand lock system that allows access for school personnel passage with magnetic cards similar to cards used in hotels. During class changes, the locks are released so students can move from building-to-building. If a student is late, oh dear, the doors automatically lock and the student will have to enter the front entrance after the school office buzzes them in.

The FCHS football field is getting an upgrade. New artificial turf will be installed. The current turf was installed in 2009 and has seen some rough play from continual use: football games, marching band festivals and other activities that span the calendar years. Since the current turf installation is still under warranty, FCHS is receiving an upgrade valued at $377,500 but will only pay $125,000 base price for FieldTurf Revolution 360 and add the CoolPlay option for $30,355.20.

The proprietary FieldTurf 360 features a cushioning effect to minimize concussions and the CoolPlay feature only allows the field to heat up 10 degrees higher than the surrounding air. Although the total initial price was $155,355.20, the addition of lettering the endzones, hashmarks and numbers on the field, trimmed in blue, will add an additional $27,900 bring the grand total to $183,255.20 to be funded by the Capital Outlay account.

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