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School Board votes to proceed with Civic Center renovation while approving lease of space

By Bill ShortMillington Schools logo

‘The Millington School Board voted this week to proceed with renovation of part of the Harvell Civic Center while approving a lease agreement with the city.
Board members took the action Monday night during their regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Chuck Hurt Jr. and seconded by Jennifer Carroll. The motion was passed by six affirmative votes, with Board Chairman Greg Ritter absent.
At a March 24 special called meeting, the board voted to renovate a stand-alone, two-story, 12,480-square-foot building at the Civic Center for use as the school system’s Central Administrative Office.
The system’s administrative staff is currently leasing a 1,000-square-foot space in the Millington Industrial Development Board building on Veterans Parkway. But a report submitted by David Hilsdon, owner of Hilsdon Engineering in Millington, noted that the “aggressive time schedule” set by the administration to meet its staffing goals will require a larger office space in the “near future.”
Before the city purchased the Civic Center from the First Baptist Church of Millington, the stand-alone building was used for church day care and nursery operations. It was most recently used by the YMCA.
At its April 14 meeting, the Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously to lease the building to the school system.
The primary term of the lease is 40 years, which is required by Tennessee law. But it can automatically be renewed for four successive five-year periods, extending it a total of 60 years.
A section of the lease gives the school board the right to designate reserved parking spaces nearest to the building, as “agreed upon” by Dr. David Roper, superintendent of the municipal school system, and Interim City Manager Chris Dorsey.
The school board must maintain the building with the same standards that it does for other school buildings in the city. And if the board decides to cease operating the building for “school administrative purposes,” it will revert to the city.
At Monday night’s meeting, Roper noted that the board’s approval of the lease agreement had been “contingent upon” inclusion of the lease cost and a “clarification” of the parking space allocations in the document, as well as the building “successfully” passing a “thorough inspection.”
“It shows the amount to be $10 annually for the cost of the lease,” he said. “It specifies that we’ll be initially allocated 10 parking spaces. That will be revisited on an as-needed basis to accommodate expected future needs.”
Roper said the results of inspection of the building in such areas as structure, environment and accessibility are included in Hilsdon’s report.
Hilsdon has noted that the strength of the steel frame construction, along with the separated first- and second-floor exits, allow for easy movement of “non-bearing” partition, electrical, plumbing and mechanical elements.
He has said that, prior to occupancy, the school system will have to pay the initial renovation cost, which is estimated at $75,000. Pro-rated over 60 months, the cost would be $1,250 a month.
In response to a question by board member Cody Childress, Hilsdon said he was told that the building was constructed in 1989, approximately “eight or nine years” after the use of asbestos was banned. He said the inspection showed no “traces or evidence” of asbestos in the building.
Board Vice Chairman Don Holsinger said the building is “missing” one air conditioning unit on the outside of the second floor. Citing Hilsdon’s report, he asked whether it will be replaced at an estimated cost of less than $8,000.
While noting that the occupancy is initially based on the first floor, Hilsdon said the renovation will include installation of a fire alarm system that will cover the entire building.
Although replacement of the air conditioning unit will be an “option” at the discretion of the board or superintendent, he said its absence will not be an “issue” with the Millington Codes Enforcement Office.
Holsinger said Hilsdon’s report recommends 16 parking spaces – 10 for personnel, five for visitors and one for the handicapped. He asked whether the 10 spaces allocated by the lease will violate a federal or state requirement.
While noting that the one handicapped-accessible parking space is the only federal and state requirement, Hilsdon said there will actually be three that are “common.”
“The three would probably be more accessible to the subject building rather than the personnel office,” he concluded, “just because of the type of clientele that is coming to each.”

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