Manila School board approves architect firm

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Town Crier News Staff

Among the topics discussed at the Manila May School Board meeting Thursday included a building project, 2006-07 calendar, personnel issues, and football.

George Krennerich of Brackett Krennerich Architects in Jonesboro discussed the proposed construction of a new junior high school building.

Krennerich met with Superintendent Pam Castor earlier in the week to tour the campus.

"Mrs. Castor shared a master plan showing a possible sight where classrooms could be added," Krennerich said. "There seems to be adequate space. We believe that 10 to 12 classrooms are within your budget. Currently the State Department of Education is telling us for this area to budget around $109 per square foot for schools." The classrooms would be about 850 square feet, with storage, teacher's workroom and restrooms.

Kennerich said his firm is working with several school districts including Valley View, Hoxie, and Bay and designing a high school for Trumann. They are also doing wings of classrooms for Nettleton.

"We have quite a bit of school work going on now. We are familiar with the new school standards," he said. "With the new standards, they pretty well tell you what you can do with the match money. You can add more square footage, but schools have to pay for the additional work themselves."

School Board member Robert Veach asked about how long it would be until the firm could provide a design and plan.

"We would probably get started on it in July." Krennerich said. "It is a fairly simple addition so I think we can do a design in a couple of weeks and then we will come back and meet with you about mid-July. If you authorize the design it would take about six weeks to finish construction documents. Around the first of September we would send it to the state department for approval and be ready to bid it out the first of October and award a contract by Oct. 15. If we have the kind of winter we had last year, we could probably get the footings and foundation in by January. There is a good possibly we could finish earlier but plan for the spring of 2008."

Castor said the building will include a science lab and other things she and administrators feel are needed.

The master plan shows the junior high as an addition to the fifth and sixth grade building. She said things could change depending on the architect's plans.

Castor said through the partnership funding, the state will be paying 67.0335 percent and the district 32.9667435 percent.

"Our portion would be $412,084 with the state paying $837,916 for an estimated $1,250,000 project," Castor said.

She said the district should have final approval of its partnership application by July 1.

Board members voted to hire Brackett and Krennerich firm for the project.

Castor said at this point, the district will be able to go forward with the new building without a millage increase.

Castor informed the board the district received $127,000 in additional funds as a result of the new funding approved by the Legislature during its special session. She also reminded the board that the district started the year with a $56,000 cut in revenue and several unfunded mandates.

"We are awaiting another session which will begin in January," Castor said.

Following an executive session, the board accepted the resignations of Jamie Rolland, elementary counselor; Rick Harrell, high school history teacher; and James Sherrod, maintenance.

The board approved the transfer of Brooke Polston from fourth grade to elementary counselor; Becky Ritsmon from third grade to fourth grade and transfer of Beth Jolliff from self-contained special education to resource. They approved the hiring of Melissa Baker, third grade, and Karen Miller, special education. The board also approved a $1,000 stipend for Codie Malloy for coaching high school softball.

School Board President Scott Misner asked about the placement of a football field. The topic was discussed at last month's meeting on running the field east and west at the very back of the school property behind the gymnasium.

Discussion was held at Thursday's meeting on placing the field near the same location as it was before running north and south directly behind the gymnasium. If the football field was located there, the baseball/softball practice field would have to be moved. Placing the football field there would be closer to parking.

Board member Johnny McCain said if the baseball field at its present site is eliminated the gym could be utilized for football.

Veach said the school has a lot of money in the baseball field and it is used for practice.

Board member Tony Crowell said he wants to see a plan down in writing.

Fred Fleeman, member of the committee for extracurricular activities, said it doesn't matter which way the field is placed if there is no coach.

Fleeman said the kids are getting discouraged and the district needs to hire a coach who knows football, can talk to the kids and work well with the district and community.

"The first coach the district hires will be very important to the success of the program," Fleeman said. "You need to have a good man in place before school is out."

He said other schools have already started spring practice.

In other business:

*The board approved the payment of $1 per student co-op charge with Rob Veach and Jackie Hill voting no.

*The board approved the 2006-07 calendar to correspond with the schedules of other districts in the county giving students the opportunity to take advantage of the distance learning and ANC course offerings.

*The board approved next year's May 18 graduation date. Principal Pam Chipman said AP exam results will not be in until May 15.

*During the Administration report, Castor announced the Manila District had met state standards with no problem. The elementary and high school both received North Central Accreditation.

*Castor said repairs on the gymnasium floor will be covered by insurance.

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