Categorized | Education & Safety, News

School Board seeks proposals to demolish several buildings at MCHS, Civic Center

By Bill Short

Millington Schools logoThe Millington School Board voted unanimously this week to seek proposals to demolish several buildings at Millington Central High School and the Harvell Civic Center.
Board members took the action Monday night during their regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Vice Chairman Greg Ritter and seconded by C. J. Haley.
Chairman Cody Childress said a plan will be presented to the board to demolish the old cafeteria, Library/Science, ROTC and Vocational classroom buildings at MCHS this summer. The school’s auditorium will remain until a new Fine Arts Center has been constructed.
If the city offers the Civic Center to the board, Childress said its north and center wings, auditorium and chapel will be demolished. The gymnasium, attached personnel wing and the school system’s Central Office building will remain.
He noted that this plan will provide Playhouse 51 and the high school’s Drama Department a venue to operate in until the new Fine Arts building is completed.
“It is the board’s intent to work with Playhouse 51 in all endeavors that include its productions and community events,” Childress said. “At no time during this demolition and construction phase will the community be deprived of a venue for plays and productions.”
Dr. David Roper, superintendent of Millington Municipal Schools, said the Request for Proposals will allow bids to be submitted for the demolition. And the board will subsequently be asked to approve the “lowest responsible bidder.”
“So, this is not yet the approval of the demolition itself,” he noted. “This is the initiation of a process that will lead to that.”
Roper said the designated buildings on the MCHS campus will be scheduled for demolition between June 1 and July 31.
“As we work with the city for formal acquisition of the Civic Center,” he noted, “we are putting a goal of having all the legal documents ready and all the approvals necessary, so the actual transfer of ownership can take place on June 1.”
Roper acknowledged that, as the demolition plans proceed, “numerous issues” will have to be addressed. They include relocation of utilities and “sequencing” of the work, so the demolition of one building will not affect utility service to another one.
“We’re trying to build us in some time,” he noted, “so we can do all the study that’s necessary for relocation of utilities and those sorts of things. So, when June 1 comes, we will have a plan in place to do all of that.”
Roper also said some “furnishings” will have to be removed and probably sold at auction.
“All that’s going to hopefully take place over the rest of March, April and May, as we get ready for that,” he said. “So, we’re not going to go in there and just start bulldozing buildings down indiscriminately.”
Ritter said he believes some of the “HVAC controls” for the high school auditorium are in the old ROTC building. So, that would be lost if all of that building was demolished.
Oscar Brown, supervisor of Operations and Transportation for the school system, acknowledged that the “heating and cooling part” for the auditorium does come from the east end of the ROTC building. So, he said a portion of that building will have to be preserved.
Roper said Millington residents will recall that a new Fine Arts Center has been “in the plans” for many years for the high school and the city.
“At some point, before the schools were transferred from Shelby County, that plan just fell by the wayside,” he noted. “We’re hoping now to move that forward and have that new addition to our high school that we believe we’ll be very proud of.”
To arrange for “some flexibility,” Roper said, the designated buildings at the Civic Center are scheduled for demolition between June 20 and July 31.
“We know of some events that are planned during the month of June in the chapel of the Civic Center,” he said, “and Playhouse 51 has performances scheduled. We’re hoping to work around that, so those can go on as scheduled.”
In response to a question by board member Don Holsinger, Roper said the demolition of the Vocational classroom building will not include the “auto shop area.”
Holsinger said the board should ensure that the high school auditorium has heating and cooling and is capable of “handling a production.” While noting that the “light board” is in “pretty sad shape,” possibly with some “shorts” in it, he called it “not really dependable.”
“So, if we’re going to use that on a temporary basis for the Drama Department and Playhouse 51,” he concluded, “I want to make sure that we’ve got the capability to light the auditorium properly and maybe even check on the sound system.”

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