The Morehouse Parish School Board looks to have signed off on a comprehensive list of school repairs – most of them safety related – at all of its campuses.
The Morehouse Parish School Board looks to have signed off on a comprehensive list of school repairs – most of them safety related – at all of its campuses. The school board's five-person Building, Properties and Transportation Committee unanimously voted during its Tuesday meeting to forward the capital improvements document to next week's regular board meeting for final approval. It's an updated list from one submitted in September by the district's maintenance department and others, and more detailed after an engineering consultant, NewPaths Strategy Consultants, inspected each school individually. It's also more cost efficient. The list represents repairs the district has designated to address with funds it hopes to get from a $2.6 million bond question going before the voters Dec. 8 (Early voting is ongoing through Dec. 1). The engineer's study calculates repair costs at $1.7 million versus the original one's estimate to use almost all of the $2.6 million. It marks almost a $900,000 difference. The remaining money – after school repairs – from the potential funds would be used to update facilities that are not handicapped accessible and finally, improvements to the closed East Side Elementary where its central office could relocate. The board is cautiously hopeful that that public will pass the measure after a proposal in the spring for $5.7 million was rejected. MPS board member Tamika Farrell said that the message from the board to the voters should underscore that, “This money will be used for two things – safety and repairs,” she said. The list of repairs range from the costly – roof replacements at H.V. Adams, Delta Jr. High, the Magnet School and Pine Grove Elementary, and a new chiller drive at Bastrop High – to less costly restroom repairs at three schools. The district hopes to construct and furnish computer labs at several schools in anticipation of a mandate that all Louisiana public schools administer high-stakes uniformed testing online in two years. The board seemed pleased at the cost efficiency outlined in the engineer's study. “The idea in this estimate was to stretch the dollars as far as we could get,” consultant Warren Bowen explained. The board reviewed costs during discussion of needed improvements at East Side, which it had discussed last month about the possibility of selling. Board member Jeff Churchwell noted that utility cost savings reaped from the closing of its central office on Naff Street would yield about $300,000 over four years – an amount that equals needed building improvements at East Side. MPS Superintendent Dr. George Noflin Jr. commented on an adjoining motion approved by the committee that the list for the full board's vote include a condition that any funds received would go to East Side last – and school repairs first. “We want the needs of the children to supersede” improvements for Central Office, Noflin said. The list, which Bowen was charged with itemizing costs in the final document by Dec. 6, includes repairs at schools including: • roof replacement, two furnished computer labs and restrooms and water fountain improvements at H.V. Adams • A chiller drive, remodeled restrooms at Bastrop High • twenty new computers at Bastrop Learning Academy • three new computer labs at Beekman Jr. High • new classrooms and new restrooms at Cherry Ridge • replace roof, chiller pumps, the AC/Heaters and hot water heater at Delta Jr. High • a chiller upgrade and two furnished computer labs at Morehouse Jr. High • roof replacement, a rebuilt chiller, two mobile labs and replace two computers at Morehouse Magnet • a computer lab at Oak Hill • roof replacement and a multi-purpose room at Pine Grove Elementary • two furnished computer labs at Southside Elementary • two buses • two trucks, one tractor, a backhoe, a loader, trailer and 30-foot lift for the maintenance dept.