HUACHUCA CITY — Construction projects are underway throughout Tombstone Unified School District, made possible with funding from the state School Facilities Board.
In his report to TUSD governing board members at Wednesday’s board meeting, Superintendent Robert Devere gave an update of construction work at Huachuca City and Walter J. Meyer schools. While pleased that badly needed renovations are being done at both sites, he also mentioned the challenges construction projects present for students and staff while school is in session.
“As I reminded the principals, they need to work with their staff,” Devere said. “Construction is not always pretty, it’s not real clean and it’s not real quiet. We just have to be flexible while we’re going through that.”
At Huachuca City School, the restrooms are being renovated to bring them into compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act standards, Devere said.
The $335,000 project is fully funded by the SFB and will bring major upgrades to the school’s restrooms, sidewalks and other areas of the campus where ADA deficiencies have been identified.
“We’ve been talking to you for four-and-a-half years about this project at Huachuca City School, and we now have full funding from the School Facilities Board to get the work done,” Devere said at January’s board meeting.
The ADA work at Huachuca City School represents one of six SFB-funded projects across the district, with a combined cost of nearly $3 million.
Construction at Walter J. Meyer School also has started, with the first phase of work at the district office building where outdated windows and awnings are being replaced. Areas of potential asbestos, the presence of mold and beehives in a rotted area of an overhang ceiling are some of the challenges that construction crews are dealing with. An assessment has been done to determine what is needed to correct the problems and start the necessary renovations, Devere said.
“Overall, these things are to be expected when you’re working with buildings from 1956 and 1958,” he said. “I am so happy to be getting the renovations done that our buildings have needed for decades.”
In other news, Devere reported that TUSD’s district wide enrollment is holding at 841 students. He also said the district is receiving a lot of interest from potential students for next year.
Last month, the school board voted to drop hybrid learning, with the exception of extenuating circumstances. With in-person and fully remote learning as the two available options, Devere said more students are attending class in-person.
The change has helped to improve the effectiveness of teaching, and taken care of attendance issues the district was experiencing with hybrid learning.
Devere and all three of the district’s principals — David Thursby, Scot Roppe and Kevin Beaman — “strongly recommended” dropping hybrid learning because it created inconsistencies in the attendance reporting system, among other problems.
While Devere admitted that not everyone is happy about the change, he said there is a two-week window in March when parents can switch their students into the format they prefer.
“I anticipate quite a few students will be making the change from remote to in-person,” he said.
With declining COVID numbers across the state and county, Devere said he is hoping the Arizona Interscholastic Association will allow spectators to attend spring sporting events.
With the recent resignation of Tombstone High School football Coach Jerome Rhoades, board member Keith Guin requested a work session with athletic directors, coaches and principals to talk about the “overall health and outlook” of the district’s athletic program.
“With COVID going on and other issues, I think we need to see if we’re keeping the right mix of sports,” Guin said. “In the next month or two, I would like to have that discussion.”
The next board meeting is 5:30 p.m., March 10, at Tombstone High School.