By Bill Short
The Millington School Board has adopted a resolution to use existing funds for construction of a Performing Arts Center without relying on a bond issue.
Board members took the action during a special called meeting on Dec. 13, 2017 in the Conference Room of the school system’s Central Office.
A motion to adopt the resolution was passed by a 5-1 vote, with Larry Jackson dissenting and Ronnie Mackin absent.
On March 20, 2015, the board approved a Five-Year Facilities Master Plan that envisioned the construction of a Performing Arts Center on the Millington Central High School campus.
On May 2, 2016 and again on June 5, 2017, the board approved Capital Projects budgets that specifically allocated funds for the construction.
The resolution states that, in June 2016 as well as last June, the Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen also approved those budgets.
It notes that, on May 18, 2016, the school board approved a recommendation to enter into an agreement with the architectural and engineering firm TLM Associates of Jackson to design the proposed facility.
At a special called meeting on April 20, 2017, a majority of the school board members rejected the lowest/best bid of $6,368,876 that was submitted by Fulwood Construction Co. of Olive Branch, Miss.
Dr. David Roper, superintendent of Millington Municipal Schools, told the board at a meeting on June 29, 2017 that he had asked TLM Associates to submit new designs for construction of the proposed facility.
He said he believed those designs could “substantially” decrease the construction cost by “reducing the footprint” of the building.
On Sept. 5, 2017, the board voted to advertise for new bids.
At a special called meeting on Oct. 17, 2017, the board accepted a new low bid of $5,709,295 submitted by Fulwood.
The resolution notes that several members of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen have “voiced concerns” about the school board’s request for a $4.8 million bond issue to partially fund the project.
At its regular monthly meeting on Nov. 13, 2017, the city board voted to postpone approval of the bond issue request until its Feb. 12 meeting.
So, the school board has approved an amendment to its budget that will involve a transfer of existing funds to finance the construction without the need for a bond issue.
But the resolution states that this process is “extremely time-sensitive,” because Fulwood’s new bid will expire on Jan. 9.
It asks the city board to “proceed expeditiously” with approval of the fund transfer, so that both “mandatory readings” of the budget amendment ordinance can occur before the bid’s expiration.
At a special called meeting on Dec. 18, 2017, the city board unanimously approved the proposed amending ordinance on first reading. It is scheduled for a public hearing and final reading at the board’s Jan. 8 meeting.
By Bill Short