Hoover BOE updated on Career Center, approves budget amendment

HOOVER – Riverchase Career Connection Center Director Ron Dodson said 612 students have registered to attend the new skilled trades center when it opens in the fall—well above the goal of an enrollment of 400 for the center’s opening.

Student recruitment has been a focus of the RC3 staff leading up to the opening, Dodson said, along with forming partnerships with industry leaders, refining curriculum, putting the finishing touches on equipment and furniture, and training the staff.

Officials have made 72 presentations to more than 4,000 Hoover City Schools students in order to share information and answer questions about the new center.

Of course, renovating the facility, which was formerly Riverchase Middle School and Pelham Middle School, has also been a momentous step.

“We’re on schedule right now, and I hope we’ll continue to be,” Dodson said. “We’re very proud of the spaces and what we’re going to be able to do there.”

Earlier in its meeting, the Board of Education approved a $3.1-million budget amendment to account for increased expenses related to the RC3 renovations.

Officials initially balked at the added expenses, including discussing the situation in a special called meeting, but Superintendent Kathy Murphy said she had a productive conversation with Gary Owen Jr., regional vice president for the Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood architectural firm.

Owen then talked to the Board during the meeting about the firm’s work on the project, and why expenses for the school system climbed.

The projected cost of the project went from $11 million to $13.5 million. The remainder of the budget amendment included architectural fees, which are a percentage of the project cost.

In other business, the Board:

  • Approved Michele McKay as interim Chief Schools Financial Officer, and also approved paying a $5,000 fee to the Alabama Association of School Boards for help in the search for a permanent CSFO. Board of Education President Craig Kelley noted that Board members are unable to interview candidates outside of the Board’s official meeting framework. “I think it’s money well spent,” Kelley said about the AASB fee.
  • Heard an update from David Bannister of Neighborhood Bridges about the program’s first 50 days of operation in the city. Through Neighborhood Bridges, posted needs have been 100-percent filled, with 70 “acts of kindness” benefitting more than 160 children, Bannister said.