HUACHUCA CITY — Despite COVID-related restrictions and new challenges, the first nine weeks of school have gone well for Tombstone Unified School District, according to reports provided by the district’s superintendent and principals at a recent school board meeting.
Superintendent Robert Devere announced that the state School Facilities Board (SFB) approved funding for projects at Huachuca City School and Tombstone High School. In addition to the SFB money, the school district is receiving two COVID-relief grants through state and federal funding.
Huachuca City School is receiving $3,750 in SFB money for an asbestos assessment before starting construction on Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance projects at the school, Devere said. SFB aslo approved $227,858 for a new air conditioning system in the school’s gymnasium, while Tombstone High School is receiving $165,724 for air conditioning in its gym, as well.
The school district has completed SFB procurement details for districtwide weatherization projects at all three school sites, Devere reported.
“The Request for Proposals for these projects will be advertised over the next two weeks, and on Thursday we will hold a pre-bid meeting and walkthrough at each campus,” Devere said. “The sealed bids are due November 2, and if all goes as expected, these weatherization projects will be the biggest project in the district since the building of the new high school.”
If approved by SFB, the project will include new windows in several buildings, new metal siding on the Huachuca City School gym and elastomeric coating to seal all brickwork. The principals at each site have met with staff and community members to decide on the paint colors.
Under the COVID relief program, the district has been approved for an Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) grant, in addition to an Enrollment Stabilization Grant (ESG).
The district also qualified for special COVID funding for community food programs, Devere said.
Through this program, the school district is currently feeding all K-12 students free breakfast and lunch. Non-students can stop by any of the three school sites and pick up frozen weekly meal kits that provide breakfasts and lunches, Devere said.
“Also, all K through 12 students have availability to weekend meal packets of two breakfasts and lunches,” he added.
On average, the district is serving 120 seven-day meal kits, or about 1,680 meals each week, in addition to another 190 weekend meal packs for 760 meals, Devere reported. In order to accommodate freezer space for the distribution, the district has been awarded $20,000 for an outdoor freezer. The USDA-funded meal program, which was scheduled through the end of December, has been extended through June 2021, Devere said.
In his report, Tombstone High School Principal David Thursby praised students and teachers for doing a good job of adapting to all the changes brought on by the pandemic.
“We have some incredible teachers at the high school and are blessed to have them,” Thursby said. “All the necessary equipment is in place and the school has a good plan for complying with COVID” through frequent sanitizing and other precautionary measures, he assured the board.
Thursby also praised Amber Ford’s agriculture science program for a “great showing at the Cochise County Fair,” with the following students winning awards for the animals they presented: Taylor Slattery had the reserve champion production steer; Jace Mitchell won reserve champion in the senior showmanship competition with his hog; Skyler Mazzanti had the grand champion cavy (Guinea pig), and was the dairy goat senior reserve champion showmanship winner, while Abigail Smith won junior reserve champion in the poultry competition.
Yellowjacket Battalion JROTC cadets participated in a “navigation and orienteering” meet at Camp Bullis, Texas. The cadets participated in the intermediate category, with Tombstone representing the first school from Arizona to participate in the meet.
Work on the Huachuca City School gym floor where tiles needed to be replaced has been completed and the gym was back in use in time for the first day of boys basketball practice, HCS principal Kevin Beaman said on Monday.
The preschool received a $5,000 COVID grant, which is being used for cleaning supplies, partitions between desks and other COVID-related items.
Whetstone Fire District firefighters visited Huachuca City School during fire safety week and talked to kindergarten through fifth-grade students about fire protection, Beaman said. The kids were given helmets and some of them got to go outside to see a firetruck up close.
“This is a great community outreach project that Whetstone Fire does for the school, and the students always enjoy it,” Beaman said.
The next TUSD board meeting is Nov. 10 at Tombstone High School.