PRC School board approves summer projects

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Pearl River County School District’s Board of Trustees heard an update on the District’s bond construction and approved some summer maintenance projects during the Board’s monthly meeting on April 16.

During Superintendent Alan Lumpkin’s report, the Board invited student representative Patricia Bolar to share her thoughts on how she and other students are coping with school closures.

Bolar said that even though the school closures and cancellation of the school year was unexpected, she and other seniors are trying to stay positive during these unprecedented times.

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“Despite everything going on we have one of the best districts because they are working so hard for seniors to reschedule events like prom and graduation,” Bolar said.

During discussion of the bond, District Business Manager TJ Burleson said that while not having students in school is unfortunate, it has allowed construction of the District’s new facilities to continue unabated.

“They’ve pretty much had free reign of the parking lot and are able to move their equipment easily instead of having to work around everything. Everything is on schedule and has been on schedule,” Burleson said.

Burleson said the projects on the elementary school campus would be done by the end of July with the building on the middle school campus being completed in the middle of May.

The Board also approved several summer maintenance projects.

The first project approved was the installation of a keyless access control system for the middle school and high school campuses, which will use $40,000 in funding from the MCOPs grant and $24,000 from 16th Section interest funds.

The second project approved was the conversion of the middle school library into two classrooms and the establishment of a nurses’ office in an existing room, which will cost $17,000 derived entirely form 16th Section interest funds.

The final summer maintenance project approved by the Board was the conversion of a middle school classroom into two administrative offices and a conference room, which will use $33,000 in 16th section interest funds.

Burleson said 16th Section funds come from residential leases, hunting leases and fishing leases issued on District owned property.

Board Member Christian Burge questioned why the projects hadn’t been included in the original bond proposal along with the other construction going on in the District.

Burleson said it was kept separate because it’s more cost efficient for the District.

State purchasing laws require only two bids for projects costing between $5,000 and $50,000, but projects costing more than $50,000 must be publicly advertised.

When the project is advertised for bids, those bids typically come from bigger companies outside the area, effectively outbidding local contractors for the project, which Burleson said is why the projects were kept out of the bond proposal.

It allows local contractors to bid on the project and keeps the money in the community instead of the bid being awarded to a bigger, outside company.

“It wasn’t in the bond project because we can get a better price from a local contractor. We have some contractors we have used in the past that we’ll reach out to,” Burleson said.