WEBSTER COUNTY, Ky. (7/17/13) - Construction will soon begin on the new Webster County Middle School, as the School Board took the final steps to finalize the project on Monday night, choosing a construction firm and voting to sell the bonds that will pay for the work.
“At 2:00 p.m. today we took bids for the middle school renovation project,” said Marcus W. Highland, the architect from Clotfelter-Samokar who is now handling the project. “We found the lowest bidder, and after reviewing their sub contractors, we recommend the base bid from Princeton Lumber Company.”
The bid from the Princeton, Kentucky based construction company was for $3,599,000 and included a new Media Center (Library), a paved parking lot and installation of Trane systems in line with what the district is currently using.
The only problem the board had with the bid was a lack of local businesses on the sub-contractor list.
“We usually encourage contractors to sub contract as much work as possible within our county,” said board member Tim McCormick of Clay. “I don’t see a lot of that here.”
Highland told the board that if they were to pass down the directive to the contractors that they needed to use local subcontractors, it would force the board to reject all existing bids and start the process over since current bids were based on non-local contractors. That would push the projects already tightening schedule back a minimum of 30 days.
In light of that, the board voted 5-0 to approve the job bid from Princeton Lumber Company.
“We approved a bid tonight for $4 million and we didn’t really have one local vendor on the list to do work in our county,” McCormick told the other board members. “I think this board should look at creating a policy to encourage contractors to employ local vendors as much as possible. I understand that we’re a small county without a contractor big enough to do all of this. But we have a lot of small businesses here who could use the work.”
With the job bid awarded, the board then voted to amend their BG-1s (permits) with the state to the final amounts they would be bonding. BG 13-025, the BG for the middle school project, was amended to $4,277,619 to cover the construction and all other costs associated with it. BG 13-226, the BG that covers roof repairs in the middle school area, was amended to $372,381.
Finally the board voted to enter into a meeting of the Webster County School Board Finance Corporation. The way the law works, the school district itself is not able to take out a loan to pay for the construction project. Instead the “finance corporation”, an entity of the board, can issue a bond sale in the amount needed.
Board members unanimously approved a bond sale of $4,650,000, coming in just $5,000 short of the districts maximum bonding potential.
DROP OUT AGE
After putting it off for a month, board members at last had to deal with the state’s proposed change of the drop out age from 16 to 18.
“This is a policy that the commissioner has hung over everybody’s head,” said Superintendant James Kemp. “The law is written so that when two-thirds of the districts pass it, in four years it will go into effect for everybody. This will put Mr (Riley) Ramsey and the principals in a position so that they will have to accept a large number of students who want to use our weakened rules to drop out (if surrounding districts enact the policy before Webster County.)”
“I can see Dr. Kemp’s point, but my feeling is that this was all a political move from the governor. He got (Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday) in on it, and then they bribed enough districts to get it enacted,” said chairman Jeff Pettit. The state offered the first 96 districts that approved the policy $10,000, which was enough for the two-thirds approval. “There is no leadership from them on how to make this work. They’re recommending the districts beef up their alternative school programs, so they’re already expecting problems. But they haven’t offered any funding to pay for it.”
“I don’t want to do it,” said McCormick.
Pettit told board members that instead of enacting the state’s plan “just because,” he wanted Webster County to get proactive. The other board members and Dr. Kemp agreed, deciding that while they still had four years to approve the policy, they would explore alternatives.
“The unfair part of this is that there is a law telling students and their parents that they can’t drop out,” said Pettit. “We need to change the climate and environment. We need to get the students interested in staying in school instead of just telling them they have to.”
•The board welcomed new Middle School Principal Geoff Bailey and new Board Attorney Brandi Rogers to the meeting.
•The board discussed plans from the soccer booster organization to build a concession stand. Before plans can move forward, the boosters need to get detailed plans of the structure drawn up for approval by the division of plumbing.
•Surveyors, Bacon Farmer Workman Engineering and Testing submitted a bill for $780, this was in addition to the $4,400 approved by the board in March. The board decided to table the vote to make payment until they could get a better description of the additional cost.
•Work on the Clay playground is progressing.
•Chairman Pettit strongly urged department heads to stop asking Dr. Kemp to come to the board on their behalf, and start coming to meetings on their own.
“If you have a department head who needs something, I think they should be here to talk to us about it so that we can ask questions,” he said. “They don’t need to leave it up to Dr. Kemp to come up with everything.”
J-E News Editor
Copyright 2013 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
|< Prev||Next >|