HAMLIN — The Lincoln County Board of Education has scheduled closure hearings for Duval PK-8 and Midway Elementary schools.
These hearings are a part of the process to apply for School Building Authority funds for a new school in the county.
Jeff Huffman, a consultant for Lincoln County Schools, previously said a part of the process requires that closing hearings be held at both school locations prior to the presentation to the SBA in November. During these hearings it will be specified that the schools are not looking at closure until 2024 or 2025 at the earliest.
“Public hearings regarding these school closures, we’ll host hearings in both locations,” Huffman said.
Lynn Hurt, who has been assisting administrators with addressing compliance issues in the county, said they’ll look at Lincoln County High School as the location for the Duval closing hearing since it cannot be held inside the former school building.
The Duval PK-8 closure hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 12 in the Lincoln County High School auditorium. If the board is not able to hold the meeting on this date for any reason, an alternative date of Oct. 14 has been posted.
The Midway Elementary closure hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 13 at the school. If the board is unable to host the meeting on this date for any reason, an alternative date of Oct. 15 was posted.
Public comments are welcome at both closure hearings. Anyone wishing to speak to the board on either date can sign in between 5 and 5:45 p.m. on the scheduled hearing date. It should also be noted that comments are limited to three minutes per person.
Written statements can also be mailed to the central office prior to either meeting.
The board named Williamson Shriver Architects as the firm for the proposed Duval PK-8 and Midway Elementary consolidation project in late August, five days after the special session called to interview the final three firms up for consideration in the project.
Architect of Record Greg Martin from Williamson Shriver Architects said during his interview that his firm has extensive experience with building schools. The firm has completed multiple projects at all grade levels.
The school system was expected to submit a needs-based application to the School Building Authority for the consolidation project, with that initial application due Sept. 10.
Lincoln County Schools held a special meeting August 9 to detail the short timeline leading up to the School Building Authority presentations for funding consideration in November.
The biggest hurdle currently is attempting to locate a suitable piece of land that is large enough for the project. Martin also touched on this during his interview.
“Schools are not designed overnight, they take time,” Martin said. “And one of the most important things early on is understanding the site location. We understand you guys have some of them you’re looking at. So early on we want to start doing site selection, and you want to start doing your site due diligence to understand what that site is capable of having.”
Superintendent Jeff Kelley will make the presentation to the SBA on either November 1 or 2. Kelley has continuously reminded community members that while the situation has become more severe with the closure of the Duval PK-8 building,
Lincoln is still in competition with 54 other counties so funding is not a guarantee.
Lincoln County Schools approached the SBA in 2020 with the funding request for this project and was denied. In the instance that it is denied again, he said administrators will go through the process again next year.
The project has received increased attention and scrutiny after an architectural report lead to the closure of Duval PK-8’s main building mere weeks before the start of school August 18.
The closure announcement noted that an architectural report recommended more parts of Duval be closed than what already had been late last year, so the administration made the decision to close the facility entirely.
Lincoln County Schools first announced July 23 that the main school building at Duval PK-8 would be permanently closed after receiving a report from CAS Structural Engineering.