By Al Dozier

The Richland 2 Board received an update at the August 27 meeting on capital improvement projects.

Security projects related to the entrance of schools are nearing completion, according to Executive Director of Operations and Logistics Will Anderson.

The security upgrades provide access security to 15 different front entrances of district schools. The security projects also include installation of bullet-resistant glass and drywalls

Roof replacements are underway at Dent Middle School, L.W. Conder Elementary School and Rice Creek Elementary School.

Schematic designs for new stadiums at Richland Northeast High School and Ridgeview High School are 90 percent complete.

A construction project for the Center for Knowledge is expected to start in January.

Work is also underway for replacement schools at Forest Lake Elementary, Bethel Hanberry Elementary and E. L. Wright Middle School. A community meeting is scheduled for Sept. 12 on the Forest Lake Elementary School project.

The district has acquired several new school buses. Anderson said all of them have air conditioning.

During public comments at the end of the meeting, Board Chairman James Manning sought to address concerns that the district may be paying Superintendent Baron Davis too much. The board recently approved a 12.3 percent salary increase, which brings his annual pay to a total of $221,973, the fifth highest pay for superintendents statewide.

Manning noted that Richland 2 is the fifth largest district in the state and that the board “is very proud” of Davis, who has been recognized throughout the state for his leadership. He said the board wants to make sure the district doesn’t lose him.

Davis received “An Overall Distinguished Evaluation” by a unanimous vote from the Richland 2 School Board at the August 13 meeting. He received a two-year extension to his contract, which will continue his tenure to 2023.