COVINGTON — During the Covington Board of Education meeting on Thursday, a proposal was made to the board to implement a memory walk at the new Covington Elementary building.
Jay Wackler, one of the founders of the Covington Alumni Education Foundation, introduced the idea to the board as a fundraising amenity. Members of the Covington community can buy pavers to engrave individuals’ names with class or athletic achievements.
The memory walk at the Upper Valley Career Center was used as an example.
“(The memory walk) doesn’t distract the beauty of the (UVCC) building … in my opinion, (it) would be a great addition in Covington,” said Steve Miller, building project manager of PK-8 building. “We are on board to do this project.”
“It’s not an extra burden on (UVCC) current staff; they didn’t have to hire anyone or do anything special,” Wackler said.
“I think it’s great. It’s an opportunity for the people in the district to be remembered,” said Alex Reck, board member.
Other suggestions were made, such as offering different-sized pavers to allow people of different budgets to participate and sending an order form home with Covington students to show the opportunity to their families. Although highly supported, a board decision was not yet made to officially implement the walk way.
Covington Village Administrator Mike Busse asked the board to donate a portion of their property to the Safe Route to School Project, to create a sidewalk that would go from the old elementary building to the new building on Chestnut Street.
The original plan was made prior to the building of the new PK-8 school, which explains why the route would go from the old building to the new.
“There are a lot of places (in Covington) that don’t make good sidewalks to school,” Busse said.
Busse also stated the project is funded almost entirely by the village.
Although the board did not make a vote to approve the donation to the project that evening, it is seen as highly favorable.
“We all think it’s a wonderful project,” Superintendent Gene Gooding said.
Miller gave a project update on the new PK-8 building and for other building projects. The PK-8 building will have brick installments completed in three different areas by the end of next week and gas hook-up done today. Windows will be installed soon, Miller said.
“The PK-8 project is definitely on schedule and within budget, and might be just a little bit ahead of schedule,” Miller said. “The more time we have to get into the building, the better.” Miller expects to have occupancy of the building by Aug. 1, 2016.
Advertisement and acceptance of bids for the high school carpet project continues, with currently two “good bids.” Installation of the new carpet is scheduled to take place for six days over or before Christmas break.
“We want people to come back (to school) to new carpet,” Miller said. “The carpet will be just like what will be at the PK-8 building.”
Abatement for the middle school will take place June 6, 2016.
Gooding discussed whether to continue the options of all-day and half-day kindergarten next year or to follow suit with other schools that only provide all-day.
“It’s hard to get kids into preschool, and all-day kindergarten helps,” Gooding said. He also stated it may not be an option to accommodate both all-day and half-day kindergarten due to limit classrooms.
Reck likes having both options after mentioning his son did not do well with all-day kindergarten, but his daughters did.
“Some cases, it’s probably maturity level level and I like the idea to have the option (of half-day kindergarten),” Reck said.
Rick Fry, principal at the elementary school, recommends all-day kindergarten. With new state requirements, he said it is difficult to fulfill the demands in half-day kindergarten.
“Getting (requirements) in a half a day is a challenge in itself,” Fry said. “More kids are coming in with no preschool (experience).”
A decision to allow all-day kindergarten was not made at this meeting, but one will be made in the near future.
Discussion was also made to purchase a new school bus and van. One of the nine school buses is older than 19 years and the van, used for FFA activities, is becoming run down.
“We have the funds available to do this,” Gooding said. “The time is right financially and the need is there. This is not a want … (vehicles) are becoming less reliable.”
Reach reporter Amy Barger at (937) 451-3340 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall.