FRONT ROYAL – The Warren County School Board received an update on the upcoming renovations at A.S. Rhodes Elementary School during a work session on Wednesday.
Randy Jones, the CEO and architect with OWPR, which is overseeing the renovation project, presented to the board the updated blueprint of what will be renovated at the school, including classrooms and the school’s roof.
“Our team of architects and engineers have been in building, on top of the building, and under the building,” Jones said. “They went everywhere they possibly could. We’ve got a really good handle on what the building is.”
Jones said the school’s entrance will be one of the first areas of focus, along with a new office and a waiting area.
“When parents come to the school, they will stay in this area as opposed to them coming in and wandering around the school,” he said. “It also keeps people out of the office area. There’s not enough room in there for all of the parents to come in.”
Jones said there will be seven parking spaces added in the front of the school — five regular spaces and two handicap spaces — along with a new handicap-accessible ramp.
Jones reconfirmed that the project’s budget will be around $3 million and the final blueprints for the renovations are expected to be completed in the next week. The project is scheduled to begin in June and run until August 2020.
Also during the work session, Warren County Schools Assistant Superintendent Melody Sheppard discussed with the board a contract with Sodexo, a food service management company. Sheppard said that the school division was looking to enter into a contract for a food service program. The contract with Sodexo would allow any food service employees working in the Warren County Public School system to become Sodexo employees while still working for the division.
Sheppard said that, under the agreement with Sodexo, all food service employees would see a 3% pay increase and any employees making less than $10 an hour would be moved to $10 an hour. Employees who work 5 1/2 hours a day would be able to work six hours.
“It’ll increase their weekly work time by 2 1/2 hours, and they’ll get 2 1/2 hours worth of pay,” Sheppard said.
Other benefits would include merit pay, which would be payable based on work performance, and possible unemployment pay during the summer months. Sheppard said sick leave days and benefits would remain the same.
“Before we even considered switching employees over to the food service management company, we wanted to make sure that our employees would be on a level playing field,” Sheppard said. “We didn’t want to see them get hurt by switching over from Warren County Public Schools employment to Sodexo employment.”
The contract with Sodexo will be up for a vote during the regular School Board meeting on May 1.