Poplarville school board awards upgrade contract

Published 1:02 pm Wednesday, May 12, 2010

School board officials approved a $1.4 million contract with a Hattiesburg construction company for upgrading a number of school buildings, including badly needed electrical upgrades, in a program that will see the use of a portion of $3 million in interest free federal stimulus funds by the school.

The bid accepted on the contract was the lowest and best, said school architect Gary Bailey of Tupelo, and because the bids came in well below expected amounts more money is available for additional work later.

Bailey said that the phase I of the project will use about half of available funding.

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Included in the upgrade will be the Lower Elementary school building, which is more than 80 years old and especially needs an electrical upgrade, said Supt. Carl Merritt.

The funds are actually generated through the sale of bonds, which the board authorized back in September of last year, and are technically called “qualified school construction bonds” and are part of the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,” popularly known as the stimulus package.

Said Bailey, “We have good news. The bids came in under budget.”

Bailey said the board received four bids and the low bid was J. Van Construction of Hattiesburg, and he recommended the bid be awarded to that company. He said the bids were “competitive.”

Bailey told the board that since the bids were low, that will free up money to use for “other needed projects in the district.” He added, “This is way under budget. And that is a wonderful opportunity because it gives you a chance to go back and look at some of the other needs that you have.”

“It gives you a chance to do a phase 2 project,” he said.

“The bid market right now is extremely good, and that is what you are seeing reflected in these bids,” said Bailey.

Bailey said the company that won the contract was “a very capable company.” He added, “I have known them and worked with them over the years.”

“They know what they are doing and will do you a good job,” added Bailey.

In other matters during the 45-minute session on Monday night, the board:

— Honored All Star Bus Students.

— Honored Hall of Fame Students.

— Approved the 2010-11 student handbook. There were no “major changes, Merritt told the board.

— Approved the following policies: Revised computer acceptable use policy and procedures for student complaints of bullying or harassing behavior.

— Approved the emergency bus supply for Pearl River Co. Hospital and Nursing Home, which is done on an annual basis.

— Approved the 2010 Extended school year application.

— Approved the PE4Life scholarship.

— Approved an easement on sixteenth section land 16-2-14.

— Approved personnel resignations and recommendations.

— Approved an advertisement for the budget hearing and ad valorem tax notice. The budget hearing is scheduled for June 23, Wednesday, at 5 p.m.

— Approved the consent agenda, including special services travel contract; acceptance of out-of-district students; students release; out-of-state travel; psychometric contract; equipment disposal; claim docket, payroll, financial statement, activity fund receipts and minutes of April 12 regular board meeting and May 4 special board meeting.

— Adjourned to Monday, June 14, at 7 p.m.