School board to get update on trailers

Published 10:03 pm Tuesday, October 8, 2019

The Suffolk School Board will get an update Thursday about using trailers at Nansemond River High School after it learned last month that it was over capacity.

The school’s attendance was at 1,584 students as of Sept. 12, 90 above its capacity, with several board members suggesting the use of trailers as a possible solution.

Director of Facilities and Planning Terry Napier said at last month’s meeting that there is enough space at Nansemond River on a practice field behind the school to fit between eight and 10 trailers, which could hold up to 300 students.

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He said it would cost about $100,000 to move trailers into place and set them up in time for the start of the second semester on Jan. 30, 2020, though he said the division would have to move quickly to make it happen.

Napier said that while trailers could be moved without too much difficulty, the challenge in having them ready would come from Dominion Energy and getting electrical power into them. The trailers would also have to be wired for internet access, communications and data infrastructure, as well as meet fire regulations.

Board members Sherri Story and Karen Jenkins said last month that overcrowding at Nansemond River is affecting morale, with teachers using carts as they share classroom space. Story and board member David Mitnick suggested the school add trailers to alleviate the overcrowding.

The board also has a dozen new ordinances that will get their first reading at Thursday’s meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall. Prior to the meeting, Dr. John B. Gordon III will be sworn in as the division’s new superintendent. The swearing-in ceremony and reception will begin at 5 p.m.

Gordon’s salary will be $180,000, which doesn’t include other benefits, and his contract will run from Oct. 14 through June 30, 2022.

Gordon’s hiring was announced at the Sept. 12 board meeting. He replaces Dr. Deran Whitney, whose official last day was Aug. 31. Dr. LaToya Harrison has been serving as interim superintendent.