Dobyns-Bennett's 1960s cafeteria serving lines to be replaced

Rick Wagner • Jan 20, 2020 at 11:49 AM

KINGSPORT — If you went to Dobyns-Bennett High School anytime since its opening in 1967, the same four cafeteria serving lines have been in place and in use the whole time.

However, that is about to change.

Thanks to a rebid of the serving line project and a unanimous Tuesday night vote by the Board of Education, Kingsport-based Armstrong Construction, the sole bidder after no one bid the first time, will install the new serving line equipment. The bid was $552,000. With the addition of a 6% contingency and $25,000 in architect and engineering fees from architect Steve Hutton and Holston Engineering, the board-approved amount is $610,120.

The project will be covered by the school nutrition budget, which is self-supporting, and come from $750,000 set aside for the serving lines.

Chief Finance Officer David Frye said the lines, to be replaced over summer break, basically are custom-made for the space and that almost all the other work will be plumbing and electrical connections for the new equipment. He said the contract allows some time between taking out the old lines and putting in the new ones so cleaning can be done in the area covered by the equipment.

That prompted board member Todd Golden to quip that a french fry from 1967 still could be under one of the old lines somewhere. 

In other action, the board in separate 5-0 votes also accepted a Battelle Education donation to D-B EXCEL for $3,250, accepted an Adams Elementary Parent Teacher Association donation of $14,600 toward a partial poured-in-place system surface for the Adams playground and accepted a Washington Elementary $12,000 donation for window security film there, to be added to $24,000 in funds from that school and $3,193 in state grant money.

In addition, the board voted 5-0 to follow a committee recommendation and approve a contract with BSN Sports to supply sports equipment and athletic uniforms to the school district. The two companies that responded to requests for proposals were BSN and Riddell. However, Frye said the contract is not exclusive and that the system could use other vendors.

As previously reported, the board also voted 5-0 to contract with ESS to hire and employ almost all substitute teachers, starting in February.

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