Pelham Oaks’ new gym complete, BOE recognizes girls track

PELHAM – With the construction of the new gym at Pelham Oaks Elementary complete, the renovation of the old gym is underway, announced Pelham City Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Coefield at a school board meeting on Monday, May 21. At the same meeting, the board also recognized the girls track team for their accomplishments at the state track and field championships.

The old gymnasium is being transformed into extra classrooms for the school.

Principal Deberah Miller said the school’s first activity in the new gym was on Friday, May 18, when the school had Field Day.

“We put four bouncy houses in the gym and there was still room for more,” Miller said. “This gym allows our students to be active, but inside where it’s cool.”

Miller said students were wide-eyed as they entered the gym for the first time.

“The kids love it,” she said. “They were so excited to get to use it.”

During summer break, the old gym will undergo a transformation into three classrooms – art, music and the gifted and talented program – and an office space. Miller said the additional classrooms will provide the music and art teachers with more modern and up-to-date classrooms.

Once the renovation is complete, the school’s capacity will increase to 700 students. The school’s current enrollment sits at about 614.

“We are appreciative of the board’s support,” Miller said. “If not for them, none of this would be possible. They always put the students first.”

The board of education also recognized the Pelham High School girls indoor track team for placing second overall in the state at the 2018 AHSAA State Track and Field Championships May 3-5. Some athletes were also recognized for winning individual competitions. They had 22 All-State Athletes, two individual state champions and one state record holder.The board recognized Katie Strozier, the 6A individual state championship in the 800-meter, the 6A outdoor track state record holder and the 6A outdoor track 1600-meter state runner up.

The board also recognized Alex Wilkins for being the 6A 800-meter state runner up, Erin Long for being the 6A javelin throw champion, Emorie Long for finishing as the runner up in the javelin throw. From the boys’ track team, Adam Keller was recognized as being the 6A outdoor track 800-meter state runner up and 6A outdoor track 1600-meter state runner up.

“They lived up to what we knew they could do,” said head coach Marty Springfield. “They exceeded our expectations in the best possible way.”

Board of education member Paul Howell took a moment to recognize the hard work of the team’s coaches.

“It’s extremely difficult to peak a team at the right time,” he said. “The thing I have watched is these kids’ ability to set personal records. That tells you that the coaches set the right tone. They strategically planned what moves to make at what time. So, my hat goes off to the coaches and parents as well.”

In other business, the board:

-Approved the PCS Teacher Salary Schedule.
-Approved criteria for an academic supplement schedule.
-Approved a 2.5 percent state pay raise to be applied to the PCS Support Salary Schedule.
-Approved a 2.5 percent pay raise to be applied to the PCS Administrative Salary Schedule.
-Approved a 2.5 percent pay raise to principal contracts to include Robin Hollingsworth, Deberah Miller and Justin Hefner.
-Approved a 2.5 percent pay raise for Dr. Coefield.
-Approved a contract with Nikki Johnson for occupational therapy for identified PCS students.
-Approved a facility use agreement with the YMCA.