By Bill Short
The Millington School Board voted unanimously last week to postpone an architectural study of possible renovation of the Harvell Civic Center Auditorium.
Board members took the action at their meeting last Thursday night on a motion offered by Mark Coulter and seconded by Ronnie Mackin.
Dr. David Roper, superintendent of Millington Municipal Schools, said shortly before the vote that the administration has asked the TLM architectural firm to submit new designs for the construction of a proposed fine arts building on the Millington Central High School campus.
He believes those designs could “substantially” decrease the construction cost by “reducing the footprint” of the building with exclusion of the MCHS Broadcasting Department from it.
But Roper also noted that, at its June 5 meeting, the board voted unanimously to negotiate a contract with The Spirit Architecture Group to conduct an architectural study of possible renovations to the Civic Center that would provide a “fully functioning” Performing Arts Center.
He said the projected cost of that study is slightly more than $60,000. But before asking the board to approve that additional expenditure, Roper considers it “wise” to see what revised architectural drawings TLM submits “in the coming days.”
“Obviously, we wouldn’t proceed with either one of those things without bringing it before the board,” he acknowledged. “But that basically is the reason why we’re recommending that we delay the final action on the additional architectural study.”
Board Chairman Cody Childress said the idea is to save the $60,000 “for the time being, just in case” TLM submits a “complete package” design for a Performing Arts Center that is “affordable” for the administration.
On May 2, 2016, the previous school board approved its Capital Projects Budget for the 2017 fiscal year. One of the line items within it was a $6 million bond issue as a source of revenue for design and construction of the Performing Arts Center.
That budget was then submitted to the Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen, which also approved it.
But at its Feb. 6 meeting, the current school board approved an amendment to the Capital Projects Budget that reduced the amount requested for the bond issue to $4 million. At the time, Roper said he believed that amount would “sufficiently cover the cost” of the proposed facility.
The board then advertised for bids on the project, but they “came in higher” than Roper was expecting. So, he concluded that it would be “safer” to request a bond issue “ceiling amount” of $5 million.
At an April 20 special called meeting, a majority of the board members rejected the lowest/best bid of $6,368,876 submitted by Fulwood Construction Co. of Olive Branch, Miss., for construction of the Performing Arts Center.
A motion offered by C. J. Haley and seconded by Childress to accept the bid was defeated by a 4-3 vote, with Coulter, Mackin, Chris Denson and Larry Jackson dissenting.
At its June 5 meeting, the board unanimously approved its Capital Projects Budget for the 2018 fiscal year that includes a request for a $5 million bond issue.
By Bill Short