School facility problems outlined

By: By Natalie Davis - The Anson Record

Anson County Schools Superintendent Michael Freeman informed county commissioners of the structural difficulties at Anson Middle School at the April 2 meeting.

Freeman presented the board and those attending with a slideshow of the structural damage and potential options.

“I’m here tonight to honor the request to share some of the pictures of the structural damage we face at AMS,” Freeman said.

Several members of the board have visited the school, and agree that the school is the county’s top priority.

“Thank you for the tour that Commissioner Woodburn and I did about three weeks ago,” said Ross Streater, chairman of the commissioners. “We received a bunch of valuable information.”

There is a lot of water leakage throughout several areas of the school, including the band room where instruments have been destroyed. There is water seepage coming from under the floor, as well as the roof.

“If you look at it, it looks dirty,” Freeman said of one of the restrooms. “There are things I do not have pictures of, which involves the underground piping and those types of elements of a facility.”

The inside of the gymnasium, Freeman said, has been repaired continually for more than 30 years. Leaks and water problems over the years have disturbed the wall.

“The interior wall is suffering from structural fatigue and water damage,” Freeman said. “Outside the wall is of great concern.”

There has been patchwork done to the floor of the gym over the years.

“We do the repairs,” Freeman added. “As soon as we do the repairs, another part of the floor bulks up.”

Freeman said there is damage under the flooring as well.

There have been sensors placed on the outside wall of the gym, per the instruction of an engineer at the Department of Public Safety.

“Some of you recall that we had to close the gymnasium because of structural fatigue,” Freeman said. “In order for us to occupy it, we have to have structural engineers to monitor it.”

The gym was closed twice in the last few years.

“We are currently sure that we are safe, but we are also sure we have to monitor it,” Freeman added.

Wires dangle in other outside walls, and there is a roof issue. The track is also unusable.

Security for the students was also discussed.

“The design of school facilities now, are so that there will be quick visibility in the main office,” Freeman said. “At AMS, formally Bowman High, there is no way to accomplish that.”

There is a little monitor that’s attached to a screen, where receptionists can look to possibly see who’s attempting to enter the building, once the buzzer is pushed.

“This school, along with Anson High School, is the toughest when it comes to school security,” Freeman said.

The current system only allows access when the receptionist activates the control door; if someone leaves the door open, security compromised.

Members of ACS staff were also in attendance in support of Freeman and the new middle school building.

“There are hidden challenges with this facility, that you wouldn’t know about unless you worked it, or lived it,” Freeman said. “In some cases, we could place people in less than desirable work settings, if we’re not careful.”

Freeman added that to his knowledge, everything is as safe as it can be, but the number of “Band-Aids” that the team has placed on the facility are wearing thin, and he said there are major problems on the way.

By Natalie Davis

The Anson Record