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April 12--  Completion of the new Vidalia High School is almost a month ahead of schedule and school officials could get the keys by the end of May.

Architect Mike Parker briefed school board members at their monthly meeting Tuesday night and congratulated them on their timing.  According to Parker, the decision to build the school two years ago probably saved the school system more than $2 million in construction costs.  He said the $28 million cost of the building would be more than $30 million today due to rising construction costs.

Parker also reports security at the new school will be limited to two entrances which will be controlled.

"The new school had security in mind when we were laying it out because we minimized the amount of access through main entries for students and the public.

"We have camera systems and intrusion systems and we also took into account the layout of the building itself.  For example, if there's a light lock down where the teachers have their doors shut most all of the time, you don't get into that classroom.  First of all you have to come through the building security checks, then you have to get buzzed into the student population area, then you have to get into the classroom wings which are monitored and then to the teachers' classrooms which are locked and monitored.  So, there are multiple areas of security which were considered.

"Now, you don't want it to seem like a prison or something that is not inviting.  That's the reason we have the public spaces like fine arts, the cafeteria and gymnasium all congregated in one area and monitored when necessary and can be closed off and used individually," he said.

According to Parker, no one can enter the school without approval, "There is electronic hardware on the door and when they come through the door, there is a receptionist there who can see you and touch a buzzer to allow you in.  When you ask can I go to another area, they can verify if you have access.  You will sign in and there's another electronic door which can be opened to give you access to another part of the school."

The school board took the following actions:



*It recognized the J.R. Trippe Middle School Chess Team which took first place in all of its Chess Meets this year.

Front Row: Landry Wheeler, Om Javeri, Alan Johnson

Back Row: Mike Lisenby, Sandy Reid, Haley McKie, Dottie McDaniel, Peyton Corbett, Ah'Melion Jones, Olivia Taylor, Conner Higgs

*It agreed to purchase a new bus for special education students from Yancey Bus Sales for $125,000.

*It set non-resident tuition at $200 for next school term, the same as this year. 

The board also went into executive session to consider selection of faculty and staff for next school term.

For staff use only.