WOODSTOCK – The Ethel Bisbee Educational Complex needs a sprinkler system because it has two different uses on two levels, the State Fire Marshal’s Office has told SAD 44 officials.

SAD 44 Superintendent David Murphy told the school board Monday that the building is considered dual-use because the superintendent’s office, an educational conference center and the Bethel Exchange are all located there.

“The Fire Marshal’s Office considers the Bethel Exchange, located in the basement, a mercantile area. The upstairs where the administrative offices and conference center are located is considered a business establishment. Because of this the fire marshal sees the need for the building to be sprinkled,” he said.

“We don’t see that as a practical expense for the district at this time. We’re faced with deciding if it makes sense to continue the building as a dual-use building or come up with another solution. At this time probably not, but where we go from here we don’t know yet.”

Murphy explained that another visit by the fire marshal is planned for early October, and after that visit he will be able to present specifics to the board on what has to be done.

The SAD 44 administrative offices were moved to the former Ethel Bisbee School in August to free up student space at Telstar middle and high schools. The Bethel Exchange has been using the basement of the building for several years. The organization accepts donated clothing and food for sale at low prices to needy families. The existence of the two uses changes the classification of the building to what the state considers dual-use.

Also Monday the board unanimously approved a change in the school calendar to insure quality hours for parent/teacher conferences in October and March.

Under the original plan Oct. 10 and March 26 were dates planned for parent/teacher conferences. However, Murphy pointed out that those dates fall on Friday, which are not considered good days for conferences. As a result, the plan now is to hold conferences during the evenings of Oct. 8 and 9, and March 24 and 25. The original dates of Oct. 10 and March 26 will remain as no-school days.

“Historically we have seen light attendance for conferences during the afternoons,” said Murphy, “and evenings have seen heavy attendance, so we feel it would be better to make the change. We will still accommodate anyone who wishes a conference during the day, however, by using free periods as they occur.”

Board Chairman Kelly Scotti updated directors on the ongoing feasibility study that concerns the possible return of a football program to Telstar High School. Scotti reported that the study is moving ahead and costs regarding equipment and coaching have been considered, but the full economic impact on the district has not yet been determined.

“We probably will be looking at the cost of keeping a football program going at our next football committee meeting,” she said.

Murphy said a recent student survey on the issue saw more than half responding.

Scotti said Murphy will be developing a possible schedule plan that could be utilized without interfering with other sports using the facilities, and she should have more specific information regarding the study at the board’s next meeting Oct. 14.

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