After nearly a year of fruitless discussions with a local historic preservationist group about restoring the place, the Central School Board voted Monday to tear down the old Central High School girls gym, which was built in 1927.
Superintendent Michael Faulk said the next step is to solicit quotes from contractors and then proceed with demolition. Asked how long before the school district proceeds with demolition, Faulk said “pretty darn quick.”
Negotiations between Faulk and a group of history-loving residents who call themselves the Central Cultural Foundation broke down earlier this year. In June, the board agreed to try one more time, asking for bids from outside groups willing to lease the old gym, which is located on old Central Middle School property at the corner of Joor and Sullivan roads.
No one applied.
The debate began last fall when the Central Cultural Foundation raised $10,000 to stop the old wooden building’s imminent demolition. The board decided to give them several months to come up with a viable plan to refurbish the condemned gym.
In other business Monday, the board approved a handful of changes to student rules.
For instance, smart watches will be treated just like cellphones, barred from use during school hours. Faulk said such devices are not yet seen in Central schools, but he wants to get ahead of potential problems.
“They got some stuff that’s coming out around Christmas,” he said.
Another policy change approved Monday specifies that skirts can only be worn by female students, meaning no male students can wear skirts. Faulk said he learned at a recent conference that a couple of other school districts have had male students show up wearing skirts, but it’s not something that’s happened yet in Central and he wants to avoid any confusion about what the rules are if and when it does.
“You never know these days,” he said.
Finally, the board incorporated language, required by the Legislature, in its disciplinary rules that students in grades kindergarten to five who commit a uniform violation can’t be expelled from school or barred from riding the school bus.