Bond project may end earlier than planned

Published 7:00 am Saturday, April 4, 2020

Construction at the Pearl River Central School District campuses is on track, and may be completed faster if students do not return for the rest of the semester. As of Friday Governor Tate Reeves had not issued any further guidance on school closures, so they are still set to return April 20.

The Pearl River Central School District is undergoing extensive construction at both campuses to add additional classrooms and administrative offices and improve drainage. The projects will cost an estimated $24.8 million and so far bids have been awarded for $22.9 million.

A new elementary administration building has been completed, along with most of the storm drainage at the elementary school and the high school, said Business Administrator and Director of Operations T.J. Burleson.

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At the Carriere campus, the middle school will have an additional building near the back of campus that will house the library and four classrooms, which should be finished by May 15.

At the McNeill Campus, the elementary school will receive has three additions, which include 27 classrooms and expansions of the dining area and kitchen in the cafeteria. Those are scheduled to be complete by the end of July. The high school will have a new building with seven classrooms, which is also planned for completion by the end of July.

The cafeteria portion of the work being done at the elementary is close to completion. A wall needs to be knocked down before the project is complete, which is why the construction is expected to be finished in the summer when students are not in school, said Burleson. If school does not return to session the rest of the semester, that project may be finished earlier. However, construction is moving forward with the expectation that classes will resume this semester, said Burleson.

Although the bid for the new auditorium at the Carriere campus has been awarded, the District is still negotiating with the contractor in an effort to reduce the cost. The contract for that work is expected to be signed late next week, and the building is planned to be completed by August 2021.