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PRC School Board approve audit to renovate district buildings

During the Pearl River County School Board meeting Monday, the Board approved an audit to examine all district buildings for renovation purposes. The Board also leased almost five acres of land in Salem to the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors to construct a walking track.
Warren Bowen, a New Path consultant, offered two options for the audit contract. Option one was a complete audit of every building on the Carriere and McNeill campuses, costing the District $77,740. The second option was to do a complete audit for a select number of buildings that seem to need the most repairs, costing approximately $46,307, Business Administrator T.J. Burleson said.
After deliberation, the Board approved conducting an audit for all buildings within the district.
The audit would evaluate every aspect of the district’s buildings for safety standards.
“It will tell you literally everything that is wrong with the school buildings from its rooms to its foundation,” Bowen said. “What that does is it will help the district determine how to plan for repairs or things that need to be replaced.”
Bowen said a couple of buildings are considered historical, such as the gymnasium on the McNeill campus. Instead of tearing the building down and ruining the historic nature of the campus, the audit will seek grants from organizations like the Mississippi Department of Archives and History to preserve the gym while keeping money in the tax payers’ pockets, Bowen said.
“Sometimes when you get money elsewhere than the tax payers, the job still gets done, and that is what we are going to do,” Bowen said. “The audit will tell you how to preserve those historical buildings while keeping them up-to-date and safe for years to come. That gymnasium is gorgeous.”
Bowen said one of the main purposes of the audit is to give the community a peek into the exact necessity for renovation, repair and preservation of the school’s buildings. It also helps plan for future actions and prepares the community for the process.
“Instead of just telling the community, this audit gives the District a chance to show the community firsthand what is wrong and what it is going to take to make these buildings safe again,” Bowen said.
The audit will take place during the remaining school year and throughout the summer. As of now, there is no estimated completion date for the audit.
In other news, the Board also discussed leasing two lots of land to the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors in order to construct a walking track.
“We would love to have this walking track for the Salem community to get out and exercise. It’s an opportunity to start something great for that community,” District IV Supervisor Farron Moeller said.
The two lots total 4.9 acres of land. Superintendent Alan Lumpkin recommended that the Board lease the land at no cost because the District will soon ask the Pearl River County Supervisors for help in repairing parking lots at the Carriere campus.
The Board approved leasing of the lots at no cost to Pearl River County to construct the walking track off of Salem Road.
The next Board meeting will be June 5.