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City, school to partner on tennis courts

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By John R. Schirmer

News-Leader staff

The Nashville School District and the Nashville City Park took another step Monday night toward the construction of two new tennis courts at the park at a cost of about $500,000.

The school board voted 4-0 to partner with the city on the project. Superintendent Doug Graham recommended that the board approve the district’s portion of the project.

The park is applying for a $250,000 grant from Arkansas State Parks. The school district will cover the remaining $250,000, pending approval of the city’s grant application.

The rapidly growing Scrapper and Scrapperette tennis program uses the city facility from late March through October for practice and for matches.

Following Monday’s vote, Park Director Meghan Floyd and Mayor Larry Dunaway will ask the city council for final approval of the park’s grant.

From there, the application must be submitted to the state by the end of August, Floyd said. Nashville representatives will make their case to the park department in October.

If the state approves, construction could begin in January 2024, according to Floyd and Dunaway. 

The project will take three to four months, depending on weather, Dunaway said.

The new courts will be built east of the concession stand. They will be striped for pickleball and tennis.

Existing courts will be repaired, according to a proposal from Civil Engineering Associates of Conway. Two existing light poles and light fixtures will be replaced. Additional lights will be installed for the new courts.

If the grant is approved, the project will be completed at no cost to the city, Graham said, with half of the money coming from the state and the remainder from the school.

The city “will provide maintenance” of the tennis courts, Floyd said.

The school and city will enter a written agreement about use of the facility, Floyd said. NHS tennis teams will be first in line to use the courts for practice and competition.

In other business Monday night, the board approved the purchase of school supplies for students in primary and elementary school.

“For the past four years, we’ve set aside funds for supplies” at those buildings, Graham said. “We try to help parents not have to spend $100-$150 per child. Going into year five, I recommend that we set aside $25,000 for primary and $15,00 for elementary. This will make it easier for parents of that age group.”

The board approved Graham’s recommendation 4-0.

Changes in the student handbooks for each campus were approved. Administrators from primary, elementary, junior high and high school outlined the changes, which will be reviewed in future issues of the News-Leader.

The board also approved Section 4 of the Personnel Policies Committee handbook using model policies from the Arkansas School Boards Association.

Summer school teachers for each campus were employed, including the following: 

Primary – Jami Branch, Casey Goodwin, Jason Newton, Amanda Puryear, Megan Worthen, Krissie Talley and Samantha Young.

Elementary – Mayra Cardona, Deidra Murphy, Hilary Solorio, Mandy Brown, Melisa Musick, Kristi Cox, Krista Trimble and Kathryn Hughes.

Junior high – David Smith, Erin Bell and Araceli Hernandez.

High school – David Schwope, Lesli Strong and Julie Oakley June 26-July 7; Holly Harding-Smith, Lesli Strong and Kim Newton July 17-28.

The board approved the administrative salary index, coaching index and sponsors index for 2023-24.

In his monthly report, Graham said he expects to see progress on the new video board and LED lighting system at Scrapper Stadium. Installation likely will begin later this month or early in July.

Jay Carver was hired as a part-time member of the school’s technology department. He will spend half of his time at Nashville and half at De Queen, where he is already employed. “In the age of technology, we can’t have enough people to keep everything running,” Graham said.

The board accepted the resignation of Tequila Griffin, teacher aide.

New hires and transfers include Jace Knipper, summer maintenance; Megan Worthen, transfer to junior high art; Jewell Worthington, first grade; Snanika Lofton, special ed paraprofessional.

A prospect for the high school career coach opening was to be interviewed this week, Graham said. 

There is a vacancy at first grade.

Graham said he may call a special meeting to take care of those openings. 

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