S. Pike eyes former school’s demolition

The former Fernwood Elementary School building is falling in on itself and creating a public hazard for the community. South Pike Maintenance Director Mike Scott is recommending its demolition.

South Pike officials are looking at demolishing an old, unused building.

“That old Fernwood School needs to be torn down,” district Maintenance Director Mike Scott told school board members Thursday. “It’s not salvageable, and it’s very dangerous.”

He said much of the building is unstable. The bottom level is prone to leaking and flooding, which is gradually washing away dirt from around and under the foundation.

Scott said the property is a health and safety hazard and should be removed to protect the public.

“The property is posted, and I’ve put caution tape up, but that doesn’t last any time,” he said.

The building was used as a county voting precinct for some time, but the election commission moved the precinct due to safety concerns sveral years ago.

Board member Dr. Luke Lampton said the board should find that the district can get no academic use from the property, and board member Eva Andrews suggested the district bury what’s left of the building and look at building a new facility on the site to hold the district’s prekindergarten classes.

Scott recommended that the district also look at tearing down the former Tot Lawson home that the district owns.

“It’s just deteriorating,” he said.

In other business, the board:

• Approved the 2021-2022 school calendar, with first day of school on Aug. 5 and last day on May 24, 2022. Christmas holidays are Dec. 22 to Jan. 4, and spring break is March 14-18.

• Reviewed a slate of policy updates.

• Approved an agreement with Smiles to Go for student dental services.

• Apprioved applying for a literacy grant to fund a summer school program at Osyka Elementary School, and OK’d summer school programs at Eva Gordon Upper Elementary School and the junior high school.

• Hired Armistad Law Firm of Brookhaven to conduct code of ethics training, and hired Adams and Reese Law Firm of Jackson for Title IX training.

• Approved student transfers.

• Rehired teachers for the next school year.

• Hired Emily Wilkinson, Brittany Martin, Timothy Roberts and Kendra Fortenberry as teachers at the junior high school, and Brenda Gaines as secretary at Eva Gordon Upper Elementary.

• Discussed a legal matter in executive session.

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