MMS construction is nearing completion

The scope of work being done on Macon Middle School includes the addition of a locker room facility, roof repairs, wall assembly, cabinet and window replacements, interior finishes such as paint and restroom partitions, HVAC replacement, and plumbing updates. Photos by Vickie Carpenter

Diane Peltz – Contributing Writer

The School Board held its regular meeting on Monday, March 28, in Highlands.

On the agenda was the ongoing construction of Macon Middle School, which is winding down. 

“The project is in its last phase in the west wing of the school and will go quickly,” said Todd Gibbs, Macon County Schools Personnel Director. New pumps have been approved for the ball field and should be delivered by June 8.

Gibbs explained an issue with the new flooring which Flex Company installed at MMS. 

“It is Solid Vinyl Tile (SVT) flooring.  This is different in many ways to the VCT (Vinyl Composite Tile) that we have in all of our other schools. This SVT was an $83,000 upgrade to VCT.  It was an alternate, which means if other bids on other parts of the project come under bid, then we can go with construction and renovation alternates.  With the MMS renovation, the whole bid came under estimate so we were able to include all the alternates, including ‘upgrading’ to the SVT.  This particular vinyl tile is very soft and chairs with sled runners as legs (vs. individual legs) have a tendency to mark up soft tile. Those chairs with runners, and most all of the other furniture at MMS, were marking up the SVT, while it did not have wax on it.  As soon as we put wax on the supposedly no-wax floors, the furniture does not mark up the floor.”

“So in the long run these no wax low maintenance floors turned out to be high maintenance after all,” commented Superintendent Chris Baldwin.  

Gibbs could not comment on possible future litigation due to this issue. The county manager will have to answer that question. 

Health care benefits sought for VIP Program employees 

In October 2021, the VIP After School Program received a North Carolina Early Childhood Sustainability grant. The grant runs through September 2023. The grant contained specific items the state would like implemented with the grant money. One item is offering health insurance and other benefits to VIP employees. Lenora Clifton, Macon County Schools VIP & SEC Director, completed a survey with VIP employees, and found nine employees that are interested in taking the health insurance if it is offered.

Clifton would like to offer Health insurance to VIP Staff using the North Carolina Early Childhood Sustainability Grant that they have received.

If it is possible to offer the health insurance, the grant money will pay the monthly cost for health insurance for each employee that is interested. When the grant expires in 2023, Clifton hopes that the state will continue to provide money to sustain the health insurance coverage. However, if the funding is not available at that time to continue to offer paid health coverage, VIP employees could continue the insurance coverage by paying the fees.

VIP employees have signed a statement saying that they understand the terms. VIP staff will be responsible to pay out of pocket monthly for the deductibles, depending on the coverage that they decide to take out.

Other business

Dr. Baldwin gave a shout out to the Highlands Girl’s Basketball Team for their successful season, winning the Championship in their conference.  He also stated that the UNIFY March Madness at Franklin High School was a tremendous and successful event. This was the fourth year that this event has been held and it is well received in the community.

Spring break will begin at 3 p.m. on Friday, April 8, and run through Friday, April 15.  Students will return to school on Monday, April 18.

The next school board meeting will be held on April 25, at the Macon County Administrative office.