The students and faculty at Fieldale-Collinsville Middle School are going to be getting a lift.

The Henry County School Board on Thursday night awarded a contract for $309,000 for installation of an elevator at the school to Frith Construction Co. Inc. of Ridgeway.

Board documents said the elevator was listed as a need in in the board’s feasibility study and a step to meet compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act, which was signed into law in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush and “guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life.”

Fieldale-Collinsville High School opened in 1965 and became a middle school in 2004 during consolidation, and the elevator project is being done as part of the school division’s initiative to update older school buildings, school division officials indicated.

“We’re trying to stay a step ahead,” said Keith Scott, the school division’s director of facilities.

Monica Hatchett, a spokesperson for the school division, said buildings of a certain age were grandfathered in under ADA and are not required to become ADA compliant unless they do major renovations.

She said HCPS is being “proactive,” not “reactive,” in this project, in its effort to be equitable to all students.

The elevator will be installed in a hallway beside the cafeteria, and construction is expected to begin around November and take about 20 weeks to complete, Hatchett and Scott said.

“We’re looking at summer before it would be ready,” Hatchett said.

New special ed instructor

The board appointed Jeannette Hurd as special education coordinator, succeeding Cyndi Anderson, who is retiring.

Hurd’s salary will be $67,113, according to information provided by Christy Landon, director of human resources, and she will assist in operating the special education program with an emphasis on curriculum and instruction. She will help the division to fulfill state and federal reporting requirements and in developing and facilitating services to improve growth by students.

Hurd has worked in Henry County a teacher, teacher leader and, most recently, diagnostician. She has degrees from George Mason University and Virginia Commonwealth University.

“I am excited to become the special education coordinator for Henry County and am so grateful for this opportunity,” Hurd said in a news release. “I look forward to collaborating with our dedicated staff, parents, and our community partners to meet the needs of all of our students.”

Said HCPS Superintendent Sandy Strayer: “Ms. Hurd’s passion for meeting individual student needs and desire to see all students succeed make her a tremendous asset to the special education department.”

Also at the meeting, the board:

  • Approved spending an estimated $26,000 for student planners (books that assist students with organizational skills; provide supplemental instructional resources; and include school policies and procedures).
  • Heard comments from Dorothy Carter, president of the Henry County Education Association, citing the need to increase pay for school division personnel. Hatchett said in an interview it’s a priority of the school board to increase pay across the board for employees.
  • Recognized Laryssa Hairston-Penn, principal of Stanleytown Elementary School; Nicole Kendall, a teacher at Bassett High School; Steve Metzger, a teacher at Axton Elementary School; Lisa Rosenberg, a teacher at Rich Acres Elementary; and Marcie Seay, principal at Axton Elementary, because their schools increased their giving by at least 10% in the 2018 United Way campaign.
  • Recognized Kennedy Coleman, a sophomore at Magna Vista High School, who received a scholarship sponsored by brothers Rodney and Terry Young to attend the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton. Hatchett said this is a 3-week program at the Staunton theater. The scholarship paid her way.
  • Received from Hatchett awards from the Virginia School Boards Association for working to improve “boardmanship skills through VSBA meetings, conferences, board development and training, and active involvement in the association.” Terri Flanagan and Merris Stambaugh received an award of recognition for earning 15 credits in one year. Ben Gravely achieved 24 credits in one year, and Francis Zehr and Joe DeVault received awards of excellence for earning 48 credits in two years. Teddy Martin II received an award of distinction for earning 84 credits over two years Thomas Auker, who was not present, received a VSBA award of recognition. Superintendent Strayer also received the award of recognition, but her award was not presented at the meeting.
  • Agreed that, because of a schedule conflict, December’s monthly meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Dec. 12.

Paul Collins is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. Contact him at 276-638-8801, ext. 236.

Paul Collins is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. Contact him at 276-638-8801, ext. 236.

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