The Floyd County Board of Education approved moving its central office out of the county seat this week.
During a meeting on Aug. 26, the board voted 4-1 to move all central office employees from the district’s current location on North Front Ave. in Prestonsburg to the former Allen Central High School.
Board Member Linda Gearheart opposed the measure. She said she wishes the district could have stayed in Prestonsburg.
“As District 1 board member, I feel that I’d like to express my dismay at moving the central office from the county seat,” she said. “It’s been there forever and ever and I wish that we could have had an alternative to move to. Having said that, I don’t want anybody working at our central office, working in any kind of conditions that are not satisfactory. I would not want to have people working there to have any problems with their health or anything else because I’ve got a lot of friends in that building and around Floyd County.”
Officials report that the current central office facility needs renovations that would cost more than moving staff to the former high school, which closed in 2017 and, last year, started housing students from the Renaissance Learning Center.
The school district recently obtained a certificate of occupancy for the new Renaissance Learning Center building on Varia Mountain in Martin, paving the way for central office staff to move onto the former high school campus.
The move is expected to cost approximately $30,000, officials reported, and that amount is less than the estimated $2.5 million that Superintendent Danny Adkins said would need to be spent if the board stays in its current building.
Adkins said the former ACHS building will be ready for the move during the first week of September.
He reported, however, that some employees have already moved into their new offices and the district’s early childhood employees have relocated to James D. Adams Middle School.
“We’ve been working on it,” he said. “We knew there was going to have to be some sort of change, and I’m glad the board has decided to go ahead and go this route. It gave us a little opportunity to start working on it.”
He said there are issues with mold, water leaks and pests at the current building.
“We’re having a lot of mold issues. We’re having water leaks. We’ve come in before and had ceiling tiles caved in from roof leaks,” he said. “Actually what’s happening, the vents are stopping up … and it’s finding a way out at that point. But it’s not just water leaks, though. In the summer time, cats will get under the building. Then you deal with fleas, you deal with the smell. We’ve had some rodent issues.”
The central office is located in the Front Street Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.
Adkins said engineers estimated it would cost $2.5 million to renovate the building.
He said a portion of the $30,000 moving cost funded renovations at ACHS — painting, tile work and carpeting. The district’s maintenance department will continue to use the former school, where a warehouse is located, and the gym will continue to be used as a county gym, Adkins said.
“So, really, what we’re doing is, we’re cutting our losses on heating and cooling at the old facility and moving to an upgraded, nicer facility,” he said.
Adkins said he isn’t sure how the move will impact district employees who currently pay occupational taxes in Prestonsburg. The former ACHS school is located on a road that the City of Martin proposed to annex this year, but officials in Martin — which has a higher occupational tax than Prestonsburg — have not announced whether the city will finalize the annexation or move forward with additional annexation attempts of businesses or residences.
Prestonsburg Mayor Les Stapleton said he is disappointed that the board is moving its central office out of the city, but said the decision is up to the board of education.