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Company wants to use old gym as wellness center

The Carlisle Bison football coach staff, including assistants Blake Dorsey, Lonnie Roberson and Jack Keith and head coach Brandon Barbaree, attended Monday’s school board meeting. (Photo by Priscilla Campbell)Buy Photo
The Carlisle Bison football coach staff, including assistants Blake Dorsey, Lonnie Roberson and Jack Keith and head coach Brandon Barbaree, attended Monday’s school board meeting. (Photo by Priscilla Campbell)

The Carlisle School Board heard two sides for using Raymond H. Brown Gymnasium during their meeting Monday.

Carlisle Mayor Ray Glover, as an ARCare board of directors representative, Dr. Steven Collier, AR Care CEO, and Winston Collier, legal council, spoke to the school board about wanting to turn the gym into a wellness center.

Glover explained ARCare wants to lease the gym from the school district and then remodel the gym into a wellness/fitness center.

Collier explained ARCare believes in preventative medicine. He said all centers are open to anyone and provide state of the art fitness equipment, a walking trail, exercise classes, silver sneakers program, karate, a personal trainer, medial faculty to perform blood pressure checks and a diabetic specialist to provide diabetics with sessions in eating right and the center even has a kitchen to prepare food.

Collier said hours would be 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Winston Collier said the purpose of the center is to build healthier communities and give back to the communities.

Board members asked the Colliers questions.

Board member CJ Parker asked if there was a membership fee and Winston Collier replied yes, which might be about $20. Clark asked about the length of the lease and Collier responded it depends on the amount of money put into the center. Board member Cliff Schafer asked if there was money available and Collier responded there is grant money available for wellness centers, however there isn’t money available yet for the Carlisle center.

“It’s something the people of Carlisle really want,” Glover said.

Board members were concerned about the current activities in the gym and if they could still happen. Steven Collier assured board members activities could continue as before it was a wellness center. Winston Collier said the wellness centers are wonderful facilities where activities can go on the main court, while people are walking the track.

Currently, Carlisle Junior and High School Cheerleaders, Carlisle Dance Team and the archery team use the gym everyday for practices.

Carlisle Cheerleader Sponsors Lindsey Thaxton and Melanie Palsa Brown and Dance team sponsor LeAnn Brazeal spoke to the board about their use of the gym and concerns about it being used as a wellness center.

“This [gym] is the only facility that is suitable and adequate to house our athletes during their practices that are five days a week and used on weekends for practices as well,” Thaxton told the board.

She explained they use the gym for practices from 3:30 to 8 p.m. everyday during the week and they thought about using the band room, but the ceilings are not high enough. She also said before the cheerleaders were allowed to use the gym, they had to practice wherever including the auditorium stage and hallways.

“It is hard to think that the only home these kids have for their sport, may be taken away,” Thaxton said. “We love our home.”

Brown said they use the gym all the time and keep it clean. Brazeal said between the three teams there are 38 members, plus the gym is used for the archery team and visiting football teams use the gym during the football season.

A year ago, Thaxton said, they acquired safety floors for cheer and dance that are worth $6,000, and the floors are very large and heavy, which makes it hard for anyone to transport and move around. Doing so, she said, would take a team of men to accomplish every school day and the wear and tear on the floors would be detrimental to them in a short amount of time.

“We are so proud of our floor and the safety it brings to our state champion teams,” Thaxton said.

She also said the floors are used by the football team for indoor football practices.

Thaxton said they plan to put up mirrors in the gym and parents have even offered to paint the gym.

Thaxton reminded the board that they voted to “close” practices to outside people for cheer and dance, so to co-exist in the facility during practice would be difficult. She said the parents and students have agreed to it in their constitution to make the appropriate squad and signed it.

“This helps our athletes, not only, get the training they need but to protect them from the outside people that may be coming to use the public facility during our practice times for reason not so pure,” she said.

Even if they co-existed, Thaxton explained that she is bothered by the girls being sweaty and hot and random men walking close by them on the track.

As the pre-k director, Thaxton said, parking will be a problem for pre-k parents dropping off and picking up their pre-k students. Under the advisement of the Arkansas State Police and the Carlisle Police Department, the road is closed to through traffic from 7:50-8:15 a.m. and 2:50-3:15 p.m. every school day for the safety of the pre-k students.

Thaxton said the coaches and she as the pre-k director, safety concerns, success and housing for the athletes and students are of high priority and they are blessed to have a facility to call home for practices and day to day activities just like other Carlisle sports.

School board member Adam Ellis, showed reservation about turning the gym into a wellness center by saying there are small children in the pre-k building across the street from the gym and not being able to police who comes to the center.

The board took the proposal into consideration and has not reached a decision.

The board approved the resignation of elementary and high school music teacher Alicia Williams.

The board approved hires of Jeremiah Quattlebaum as high school boys basketball coach and teacher, Cassandra Vanzandt as elementary music teacher and junior high choir teacher, Samantha Gordon as cafertia worker, Laura Hunter as school bus driver and high school junior Korbin Burton as summer help.

In other business, the board approved:

•Flowers Baking Co. as the bread provider and Hiland Dairy as the milk provider.

•To spend $6,788 to Fred Cashaw to perform asbestos abatement to the old home economics building. Clark explained it was found that sealed up brick had asbestos in it.

•To spend about $10,065 to fill in an asphalt strip at the high school

Clark informed the board of test results. Each list shows the state average and Carlisle scores.

For the Iowa Test of Basic Skills:

•1st grade Math-state 56, Carlisle 52, 1st grade Reading-state 56, Carlisle 40, 1st grade language-state 62, Carlisle 40, 2nd grade Math-state 58, Carlisle 86, 2nd grade Reading-state 59, Carlisle 81, 2nd grade language-state 56, Carlisle 70

For the Grade level benchmarks:

•3rd grade Math-state 86, Carlisle 92, 3rd grade literacy-state 80, Carlisle 79, 4th grade Math-state 82, Carlisle 87, 4th grade literacy-state 85, Carlisle 91, 5th grade Math-state 70, Carlisle 63, 5th grade literacy-state 84, Carlisle 86, 5th grade Science-state 61, Carlisle 75, 6th grade Math-state 76, Carlisle 66, 6th grade literacy-state 73, Carlisle 77, 7th grade Math-state 70, Carlisle 51, 7th grade literacy-state 77, Carlisle 74, 7th grade science-state 44, Carlisle 54, 8th grade Math-state 66, Carlisle 59, 8th grade literacy-state 78, Carlisle 76.

End of Course Algebra-state 77, Carlisle 72; End of Course geometry-state 72, Carlisle 73; 11th grade literacy-state 70, Carlisle 65 and End of Course Biology-state 41, Carlisle 65

“Out of 24 measurable areas across various grade levels, Carlisle was at or higher than the state average on 12 of the tests,” Clark told the board.

Both school principals gave the board their plans to raise test scores.

Elementary principal Karen Norton said the elementary school plans to have weekly scheduled planning meetings, have an interventionist for kindergarten through sixth grade, adopt a new math series and teachers were in training all summer.

“We not only want to raise test scores, but give them [students] the education they deserve,” Norton said.

High school principal Brad Horn said high school plans are to have seventh- and eighth-grade focus sessions, have smaller math class sizes for more one on one teaching and start a mentoring program for teachers to make contact with students that need help.

Clark told the board about several acts the legislative enacted for schools.

•Act 576-public schools will observe a one minute period of silence at the beginning of the day, so students may pray, reflect or engage in a silent activity

•Act 1016-beginning 2014-15, 9th-12th grade students will be trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation before the student graduates

•Act 484-districts must perform active shooter drills and school safety assessments.

•Act 411-Exempts personal contact information of school employees from Freedom of Information; home and mobile phone numbers, personal email addresses and home addresses

•Act 75 establishes common spring break at week 38

•Act 231-repeals tuberculosis screening for school employees and registered volunteers

•Act 571-beginning Jan. 1, 2014 district rate will increase from $131 to $150 per employee participating in the health insurance program

•Act 696, effective in 2014-15, schools and school districts will be rated on an A-F grading system

•Act 1280-beginning 2013-14, each district must offer at least one digital learning class and beginning 2014-15, entering 9th grade students must have one digital learning class to graduate

•Act 1294-schools must provide screening and intervention to students for dyslexia

•Act 1469-Homeschool students may participate in their resident district’s athletic program, fine arts programs and special interest clubs, they must notify school 11 days before each semester and before tryouts or signups.

Clark told the board that school board election for early voting would be Sept. 10-16 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the county clerk’s office and Sept. 17 is election day.

The next school board meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 23 in the administration building.

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