Manila School Board moving forward on site selection

Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Walter Stewart with the highway department reviews the Highway 18 project with school board members.

Manila School Board moved forward on a site selection for a new high school at the special called meeting on Monday, Oct. 28.

All board members were present to discuss building matters including land acquisition, millage, and building plans.

Walter McMillan with the Highway Department was present to answer questions from the board concerning the new highway.

McMillan said the highway will be a typical 5-lane highway. They discussed the slope of the curve, utilities, speed limits, the possibility of turn lights and an expected start and finish timeline. They also asked if the location of the new highway is 100 percent certain.

McMillan said they are in the process of completing the purchase of the right away.

"There may be minor changes but I don't see major changes," he said.

McMillan said the chances were 99.9 percent certain the highway will go as planned. He said if a speed limit is requested, a study would be done to determine if the traffic was being halted. He said there are no plans for a stop light.

McMillion said the highway work in Manila is scheduled to start mid summer of 2014 and will take two to two and a half years to complete.

"If we start building in 2015, the completion of the highway and the high school will match up," Board member Tommy Wagner said.

Superintendent Pam Castor thanked Mr. McMillan for coming to the meeting.

Other discussion on financing the project was held.

John Mixon, architect with Cromwell Associates, gave the cost of different size auditoriums as the board had requested at a previous meeting.

Mixon said the partnership funding will only fund a 300 seat auditorium. Anything over that will be at a cost to the district. The partnership funding is based on enrollment.

Board member Anita Cole asked if an auditorium could be built in a way to expand when enrollment increases.

Mixon said it can be done. He said the construction estimate for an auditorium is $230 per square foot . He said the estimate is on the high end. He said depending on the needs, the figure could go down.

A discussion was held on a possible mandatory increase on the M&O millage from the state.

The board voted unanimously to continue with the proposed millage increase at 4.7 and have it ready to put on the January ballot for a vote.

The board voted unanimously to pursue a land purchase contract contingent on the millage passing. The 40 acres, belonging to Woody Townsend, is located on the east side of Manila near the building of the former fertilizer building.

Currently the total estimated cost of the project is $20 million. If the state approves partnership funding it will pay two-thirds of the total cost. The 4.7 mill increase will generate $6 million for the district's matching funds for the new high school.

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