Cove School Earl Pettit

Cove School District Superintendent Earl Pettit walks through the site of the three new offices on Cove's school campus on Tuesday, July 13, 2021. The offices are being built where the school's cafeteria used to sit.

COVE — Cove Elementary School is undergoing one of its biggest renovations in decades.

Three new offices are being constructed where the school’s old cafeteria was before it was replaced by a $1.8 million dining hall in 2020.

One office will house a nursing station, a second will be for a mental health counselor and a third will be for visiting specialists. All three offices will make it much easier for students to receive nursing, mental health and special needs services, said Cove School District Superintendent Earl Pettit.

The nursing station’s features will include a bed, a restroom and space for storing medical equipment. This will be a step up from previous years when the school district’s nurse did not have a home office but instead examined students wherever space was available including the staff lounge, Pettit said.

The Cove School District presently shares a nurse with the Imbler and North Powder school districts. The school districts pay for a portion of the cost along with the InterMountain Education Service District.

The office for the counselor will be an improvement, Pettit said, because the district's mental health services previously were housed in a modular that was in declining condition. The new office will not only provide a better place for counseling but also give the school district’s mental health counselor, Sean White, a better connection to Cove’s elementary school and high school.

Pettit said White was previously based outside of the school district’s classroom buildings and he was not a familiar face to many students.

“Many students never got to see him," Pettit said.

White previously worked for several other school districts along with with Cove. Starting this fall, though, White will being working full time as a mental health counselor for the Cove School District.

The third office will provide space for specialists including speech pathologists and occupational therapists to work.

“This will be our itinerant space," Pettit said.

Many of the specialists working in this office will be from the InterMountain Education Service District.

The offices are scheduled to be finished by early August. They are being built with funding the Cove School District received from the House Bill 3427, which the legislature passed in 2019 and is known as the Student Success Act.

Dick Mason is a reporter with The Observer primarily covering the communities of North Powder, Imbler, Island City and Union,  education, Union County veterans programs and local history. Dick joined The Observer in 1983, first working as a sports and outdoors reporter.

General assignment reporter

Beats include the communities of North Powder, Imbler, Island City and Union, education, Union County veterans programs and local history. Dick joined The Observer in 1983, first working as a sports and outdoors reporter.

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