TCS plans for station

Published 4:00 am Tuesday, November 17, 2015

School board and city officials could meet as early as this week to discuss details of a plan to put a new fire station at the Troy City Schools office on Elba Highway.

“We’ve not discussed any details,” said Dr. Lee Hicks, superintendent. “I hope to sit down with the mayor and talk about the details … but any time we can help the city save $1 million and put a third fire station in to serve this part of town, by utilizing space we have but aren’t using, it’s a good idea.”

The council last week gave Troy Mayor Jason Reeves approval to begin negotiations with the school board to purchase the school board office on Elba Highway and convert the unused space in the rear into a much-needed third fire station, the only one that would be located on that side of U.S. 231.

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The city sold the former Army Reserve building to the school district in 2005 for $500,000. The school board invested nearly $1.3 million in renovations to convert it to the central office space, as well as a bus and transportation center. However, the school board does not use the former drill hall and other spaces, and Reeves believes the city could convert that space to a state-of-the-art fire station, while leasing the existing office space back to the school board and sharing the public board room and meeting spaces. The council has authorized Reeves to offer up to $1,861,306.80.

“That’s to the penny what we have put into the building,” Hicks said. “We haven’t discussed any details about the lease amount, but I’m sure Mayor Reeves has a fair plan … We will need to sit down and discuss it, then the school board will have to make a decision on the proposal.”

Hicks said the ability to recoup the $1.8 million invested in the building would be a financial boon to the district. “Anytime you can get that money back, it’s good,” he said. “It would give us the opportunity to build up our reserves and to continue to fund some of the programs and classes we have.”

In other business on Monday, the board of education:

• Reviewed changes to the travel expense policy. “As the policy is written now, employees who travel out of town must spend the night before the district will reimburse meal expenses,” Hicks said. “This change would remove the overnight requirement.” The board will vote on the policy change at its next meeting.

• Approved a resolution in support of American Education Week, Nov. 16-20.

• Approved equipment items as surplus.

• Approved the Fairbanks Medicaid reimbursement agreement with Tallassee City Schools. This agreement provides the conduit for the district to receive federal funds.

• Approved a leave of absence for Beverly Cope, central office bookkeeper, effective Nov. 30.

• Heard an update from representatives of Schneider Electric, which is seeking to partner with the district to reduce energy costs.