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Jackson R-2 School Board approves JHS ‘C’ Building improvements, new football lights

The Jackson R-2 School Board approved improvements at the high school’s “C” Building and football stadium during its regular meeting on May 14 at the JHS Ignite Center.

The Board approved a bid of $34,500 from Holloway Carpet One Floor & Home for new carpet squares for the “C” Building. Holloway was the cheapest bid for the project. Main Street Flooring & Interiors and Stone Mountain Carpet provided the other bids.

The new carpet is part of a bigger plan to renovate “C” Building. New doors have been installed and the bathrooms have been redone after being unusable for the past five years. Superintendent John Link said the District’s maintenance crew has done “a remarkable job with very little cash being spent to upgrade that building.”

Other improvements planned are for new paint and new ceiling tile.

One of the reasons for the renovation is to expand the ACES program, providing mental health services for students who need them. Currently the program, which is a partnership with Community Counseling Center, only serves elementary students. To expand to secondary students, the program will use a few empty classrooms in “C” Building.

Elementary and middle school students will go to South Elementary to participate in the program, while junior high and high school students will go to the newly renovated “C” Building classrooms.

The District also approved new LED lighting for the Jackson High School football stadium, “the Pit.” Bleau Deckerd, associate superintendent of finance and business operations, said the new lights will be more reliable and more energy efficient.

“We’ve been talking about this for a few months now,” Deckard said. “We’ve had a lot of issues with the lights for the past several years. It seems like every Friday we are going down to the wire fixing those lights and preparing those lights.”

The District reached out to Lighting Associates, Musco Lighting and Qualite Sports Lighting for bids, and received two bids from Lighting Associates and Musco Lighting.

While Lighting Associates bid was $877, its fuses and system is up near the lights – 100 feet in the air, making it more difficult to fix if a light goes out. The Musco system is on ground level, making it much easier to repair if there are any issues.

The Board approved moving forward with Musco, awarding their bid of $149,377. The lights will be installed using the existing poles and will be in place in July. Musco had already worked with the District, having provided the lights at the baseball field.

In other action:

• Several speech and debate students from the high school were recognized for their achievements at their district tournament, with several of them qualifying for the state competition.

Members of the high school’s Future Business Leaders of America organization were also recognized for their accomplishments at their state competiton. Over 30 students competed at state, with six moving on to the national competition in San Antonio next month.

• Coach Jerry Golden, who retired at the end of this school year, was recognized for his work for the wrestling program. Golden has worked for the District for the past 20 years, being 185-0 as a wrestling coach. “He hasn’t lost a JV duel in 20 years,” head coach Steve Wachter said.

Golden has been District coach of the year six times and has been the assistant conference coach of the year 11 times. During Golden’s time with the District, the JV team won the conference championship 17 times. Together with Wachter, the varsity team has won 11 conference titles in the past 20 years.

“You can’t replace Coach Golden,” Wachter said. “You can have somebody take his spot, but you can’t replace the guy that has done what he has done.”

• Three of the exchange students from the high school gave a presentation on their experience at Jackson High School before they return to their home countries. The students, from Austria, Spain and Demark, thanked the District for the experience.

The students highlighted going to prom and other school dances, as they are  purely American events. They were involved with school sports, saying they enjoyed being a part of the team and making friends during their time here.

All of the students came from big cities in Europe, saying part of their experience was learning about living in a smaller town. They will be traveling home in June.

• Students from Gordonville gave a presentation about the various after-school clubs they took part in. The school’s PTO and Southern Bank supported the four clubs, which started this year. The first after-school club, “Fall into Fitness,” allowed the students to do various physical activities and eat healthy snacks. The second club, “Holiday Happenings,” involved making various crafts for Thanksgiving and Christmas for the school.

After winter break, the students became “Book Cooks.” The students made treats based on books they read, including pancakes after reading If We Give a Pig a Pancake. The last club, “Spring into Science,” involved placing birdhouses around the school, learning gardening basics and conducting a tornado experiment.

• Link spoke about meeting with faith-based leaders regarding how to best serve the needs of Jackson students in crisis. “We have a percentage of our students who are homeless and in poverty,” Link said. “We are looking for ways to help them and are looking for assistance.” Link said churches have already talked about providing after-school help and tutoring for these students. The next meeting will be on June 19.

Jay Forness covers education, county government and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Jackson for the past four years. He can be reached at cbjedit@socket.net.

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