Band hall at VHS biggest in state

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Construction is expected to begin next month on what will be the largest high school band hall in Mississippi.

A $1.49 million bid was accepted for the new building on the Vicksburg High campus from Harris Constructors Inc. of Madison, in a called meeting Monday of the Vicksburg Warren School Board of Trustees.

“The band at Vicksburg High has really progressed,” said Superintendent Donald Oakes. “This is something they needed.”

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Michael Jones of the firm Johnson, Bailey, Henderson, McNeel designed the 14,123-square-foot structure and said it will make the band hall at Tupelo High School, which has about 10,000 square feet, the state’s second largest. Vicksburg High School’s current band area is inside the main school and occupies 3,844 square feet.

Jones’ firm is based in Tupelo and was hired last May to make a comprehensive inventory of the structural needs of public schools here. The resulting list identified projects costing a total of $32 million. School trustees ranked the list with roofing projects first and the band hall second. Money is coming from capital funds reserved in the district’s budget.

The new building will feature three performance and practice areas to accommodate the three bands at VHS, one of which will be able to seat all 270 band members.

Storage space for uniforms and instruments and office space for band directors are also included in the plans.

Oakes said moving the band out of the school will free up space for classrooms in the 44-year-old Vicksburg High building at City Park. Warren Central, the district’s other high school, was built with a detached band hall. An expansion and renovation are on the consultants’ list.

The new hall will be on the site of unused tennis courts and adjacent to the band’s marching practice field.

A preconstruction meeting is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 6 with Jones, the school board and Harris Constructors. Jones said the construction company will be given a notice to proceed at that meeting. The contract states the project must be completed in 180 days.

In other matters, the board:

Approved out-of-state travel from Bowmar Elementary School for Jamie Lewis, Nadia Rantisi and Angela Montgomery to attend the Talents Unlimited Conference on Feb. 13 to Feb. 15 in Mobile, Ala.

Approved the Warren Central High School girls’ softball team to travel to Oak Grove, La., on March 20, Vidalia on March 29, and St. Frederick on April 5.

Approved the purchase of Classroom Manager and Clarity software programs to be used with testing materials. Cost of the programs is $73,000.

Approved renewing a contract with Mission Primary Care Clinic for commercial driver’s licensed employees to be screened for pre-employment and random drug and alcohol screening.

Approved personnel matters.