School Board Does Physical Tour of Schools; Safety Meeting on Cross-Country Course Thursday

The Dade County Board of Education toured the county's four schools last Tuesday with a view to identifying physical problems that need fixing and operational systems that require upgrading. A brief special called meeting was held before and after the Aug. 7 tour to discuss the board's findings.

Dr. Jan Harris, superintendent of schools, said at the post-tour session that the system would have $750,000 of state money for physical improvements at Dade Middle School and $300,000 for work at Davis School. "My understanding is these are the two pots of money that are available," she said. "I know between the lights and the HVAC we will need that."

The super explained that the tour tied in with the school board's agreement with ABM, the company the board just engaged to look at how the system can save money with energy efficiency, but that the ball had to be gotten rolling on improvement plans right away to beat an Aug. 15 application date for the state funds.

(Board members had already beaten another udeadline they knew nothing of until after the meeting--they reconvened back in the B of E office after their tour just before Trenton traffic snarled impossibly with the police chase, hit-and-run vehicular assault on a police officer, auto crash and emergency airlift that roared into Trenton shortly after 2 p.m. on Aug. 7 and have figured in these pages since then.)

At the post-tour meeting, Dr. Harris told board members how much work had already done at the schools over the summer break. "It's been fierce," she said.

Exterior renovations and interior painting at Davis School had been completed, said Dr. James Cantrell, operations director, and the floors would be finished during Thanksgiving break.

The DMS cross-country track and newly paved access road will be released for use soon, said Dr. Cantrell.

And speaking of physical improvements at the school, this week the board has a work session at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 15, that will include a safety meeting on the long-awaited, much-heralded new cross-country course and access road at DMS.

The road is newly paved but the track itself will never be: "It's just a natural terrain with bark and stuff where the kids will run," said Dr. James Cantrell, operations boss for the school system.

Dr. Cantrell explained that under state guidelines, cross-country tracks consist solely of natural materials. The only parts paved are where the course intersects the road.

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