Schools to accept new bids for girls’ athletic facilities

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 10, 2001

[08/10/01] Higher-than-expected bids for construction of three girls’ athletic buildings led Vicksburg Warren School District trustees to vote to readvertise the projects in a special meeting Thursday.

The three structures fieldhouses for Vicksburg and Warren Central high schools and a concession stand and press box for WC’s softball field were projected to cost $753,790, but seven construction companies submitted plans that ranged from $924,000 to $1,056,137.

The district hopes to get lower bids by advertising the two fieldhouses separately from the concession building, which contractors said would cost as much as $185,300. The project was allocated $34,000 in the VWSD budget.

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“I guess that’s where (the construction companies) are trying to make their profit,” Superintendent Donald Oakes said. “I thought that was something that was going to be a small deal and take them maybe 15 days to finish. I guess I don’t think like a contractor.”

Oakes said the district could build the concession stand on its own if the second round of advertisements doesn’t bring in cheaper bids.

“We could be our own general contractor,” he said.

All three buildings are part of the district’s effort to comply with Title IX, a 1972 law that requires equal funding for male and female athletic programs. When parents of female athletes said their daughters’ facilities were not up to par with those used by boys’ teams, a federal inquiry followed.

The fieldhouses at Vicksburg and Warren Central will complement similar buildings used by football and boys’ soccer players, and the concession stand at WC’s softball field will be modeled after a building that already serves fans at VHS games.

The projects drew bids from Coleman-Hammons, Flagstar, Fordice Construction, H & T Construction, McMillian & Pitts, J.A. Moss and Moss Construction Company.

The three members present at the meeting board President Zelmarine Murphy, Vice President John Carlisle and Secretary Pearline Williams voted for new advertisements. Members Kay Aasand and Chad Barrett were absent.

Architect Michael Jones of Tupelo, who designed the structures, said he would tweak the blueprints to try to lower the cost.

Jones said advertisements would be submitted on Sept. 18. Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2002.