VJHS construction due to start in days

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 29, 2010

Construction is to begin in the next few days at Vicksburg Junior High School, where an addition of 12 classrooms will replace aging portables in use on the campus for more than 25 years.

Bids were approved Thursday by the Vicksburg Warren School Board of Trustees for additions at both VJHS and at Warrenton Elementary, which also has portable classrooms in use.

Construction at Warrenton won’t begin until May 29 — the day after school gets out for the year — due to its particular site needs, including driveway and parking lot replacement, said Superintendent Dr. James Price.

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“After reviewing the plans and the bids, I’m not comfortable with them ripping out the driveway and taking out the concrete at Warrenton with the children and the faculty there,” Price said. “It’s a safety concern.”

The addition at Warrenton will be completed in three phases, Price said. The timetable allows the contractor to purchase steel, concrete and other materials within the 30-day time frame of price guarantees obtained for the bid; proceed with demolition and site preparation during the summer; and do the building in the fall.

“It’s more economical for them and safer for us,” he said. Construction should be complete by about Dec. 15.

VJHS will see activity right away, Price said, with the addition expected to be finished around Aug. 1.

Initial plans to build a new field house at VJHS were scrapped when bids came in over the $3 million threshold of interest-free bond funds the district had secured for financing.

Bidders were also asked to make other cuts to their proposals, bringing the final bid totals to about $60,000 over the bond amounts. Price said the overage would be covered partly by a contingency amount he does not expect to use.

The bid for VJHS construction was awarded to Flagstar Construction Co. Inc. of Brandon, with a contract totalling $1,558,258.

Warrenton’s contract was awarded to Dixon Interior Finishing Inc. of Jackson, for $1,502,769.

The bonds, a statewide total of just over $132 million made available through federal stimulus money directed to the Mississippi Qualified School Construction Bonds program, enables interest-free borrowing for approved local projects.

The district serves about 9,000 students at 10 elementary schools, two junior highs, two senior highs and one alternative school. Although operational funds have been cut, the district here has followed a practice of setting aside funds each year for capital improvements.