Manila School Board reviews building report

Tuesday, August 25, 2015
John Mixon, architect with Cromwell, gives a building report at the Manila School Board meeting.

John Mixon, architect with Cromwell, discussed building plans at the Manila School Board meeting held Aug. 20.

All board members, Jeremy Jackson, president; Brandon Veach, vice president; Tracey Reinhart, secretary; Danny Robbins, Johnny McCain, Tommy Wagner and Dean Tucker, were present.

Mixon presented a rendering of a new high school building, along with floor plans for a proposed two-story building.

Mixon said he wanted to meet with the board to get feedback and answer any questions they may have.

Board member Wagner asked for a comparison on the number of classrooms presently used and what the new facility will provide.

Mixon said there will be an additional 13 classrooms and two labs.

Board member Veach asked about the parking area and Mixon said it will increase with the present layout.

The safe room areas were pointed out in the band/choir room areas, along with other hallways.

The board also discussed the auditorium that would hold 750.

Board member Tucker asked how many people the gymnasium seats.

Superintendent Pam Castor said approximately 1,200.

"That is equal to our student body and staff," Wagner said. "How many people did we have at graduation?"

Mixon said more and more schools are going to gymnasiums or convo centers for graduations.

According to the district's enrollment, the state will pay for an auditorium to seat 350. The additional portion will be paid for by the district.

Veach asked how many times in a year the present auditorium fills up for an event?

"My question is, have we ever had to turn anyone away from an event?" Veach asked.

The answer was no.

Mixon said a larger auditorium that would work for graduations would dwarf other activities.

"It doesn't function well when it gets that big," Mixon said.

He also added, the larger an auditorium gets, the more expensive it is for sound systems, etc.

Mrs. Castor said the present auditorium in the high school can continue to be used for elementary performances, spelling bells or a number of events.

With the proposed layout, the agri building will become the bus mechanic shop. In the new building there will be a physical education complex with a full size basketball court, two practice courts, small locker rooms. Pull out seating can be added.

Board member Wagner asked about the cost and going over budget. He said without the site work completed it is hard to get an estimated cost without all of the information.

"We will have more information in December with material price break downs," Mixon said. "At this point we are not looking at any square footage cuts."

He said according to the POR, the only flexibility in the square footage in the proposed plan is the auditorium.

President Jackson asked if the board would like to look at any other building styles from Mixon before a final decision is made.

Veach said he would not mind looking at other building options as long as it doesn't slow down the process.

The board decided to have a working meeting starting at 5 p.m. before the public meeting on Thursday, Aug. 27.

A public meeting will begin at 6:30 at the Manila High School Auditorium. Guest will be Terry Granderson, director of the Arkansas Division of Facilities and Transportation.

Following an executive session the board accepted the resignation of Kerri Mays, aide. They then approved Tim Bassing as cross country coach for the 2015-2016 school year.

Board member Wagner said it had been brought to his attention that some of the faculty felt threatened and school time might have been used to promote one side or another on the building issue.

"This may or may not be correct but as a board member I wanted to bring it to your attention," Wagner said. "As a school we have to be careful about it."

"It has certainly never been my intention to put upon any staff or anyone," Castor said. "People in this community have a right to their opinions and have the right to express them."

In other business:

*The board approved purchasing 15 Macbook Airs and one MacBook Pro from a state purchase in the amount of $17,819.71 using grant funds.

*Superintendent Castor said the opening enrollment is at 1068, up four from this time last year; 10 from last year's third nine week average. She said the numbers usually increase until Labor Day. She said the pre-kindergarten classes are filled. Pre-K is not included in the enrollment numbers. Castor said they had an extremely smooth opening. Open house was well attended.

*Principals will give their reports at the September meeting.

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