ADECA grants $20,000 to DCS for HVAC project

Demopolis Middle School’s gymnasium is one considerable step closer to getting heating and air conditioning thanks to a grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.

“I don’t think words would really do that justice,” Demopolis Middle School Principal Blaine Hathcock said of the need for a heating and ari conditioning unit in the DMS gym. “You can imagine, the gym was built in 1949. We’re having P.E. in there and we’re running approximately 561 children through there in the course of a day. A lot of our classes are 100 children. Right now, there’s no ventilation other than opening the doors. It’ll be a Godsend for us, especially moving forward with graduation and different events in the gym. It’s just an old facility and it needs it terribly. So, we’re thankful.”

The HVAC project is estimated to cost a total of $80,000, a sum that had been budgeted to come out of the school system’s capital outlay budget.

The project will now draw aid from ADECA after the department awarded Demopolis City Schools a $20,000 grant.

“We actually had put money in the capital plan to do the project ourselves and we were just hoping to get some assistance,” Demopolis City Schools Superintendent Dr. Al Griffin told the board of education Monday. “That frees up $20,000 of capital outlay monies to use toward other needs.”

The awarding of the energy grant marks the second consecutive year ADECA has favored DCS for such a project. The 2011 edition of the grant, which was worth a $50,000 maximum award, allowed Demopolis City Schools to contract Anderson Plumbing and Heating to install HVAC in the gymnasium at U.S. Jones Elementary School, a structure that had never previously had such a luxury.

“We’re very excited to have it. We got $50,000 for the grant at U.S. Jones, which is the maximum. This year, they only awarded $20,000. We got the maximum for it,” Griffin said of the ADECA funds. “At the end of the day, we’re going to have brand new heating and air units in the gyms at U.S. Jones and the middle school, which we did not have before. And, if you look at it, it’s almost like we bought one and we got one free.”

The U.S. Jones HVAC project reached completion in late September. Griffin indicated he hopes the project will be complete by May 2013.

Other business conducted at Monday’s board meeting included the approval of the financial statements and payroll for September and October, the tabbing of Mason and Gardner to conduct the school system audit, the approval of the superintendent review and evaluation form.

The board will also enter into contract with JBHM Education Group to conduct a Special Education Data Institute with the system’s special education teachers. The institute will be a five-day workshop that will include two days of intensive training for teachers.