By John R. Schirmer
The Nashville School Board Monday night gave the go-ahead for construction of an agri building at Nashville High School and a bus garage for the district.
The board accepted proposals from Doyle Howard Construction of Delight on both projects. Howard Construction’s maximum guaranteed prices are $817,000 for the agri building and $550,000 for the bus garage, making the total $1,367,000. Money for the projects will come from the district’s building fund. The district had budgeted $1.6 million for the two buildings.
Both facilities likely will be constructed on the same sites where the current agri building and bus garage are located, according to Superintendent Doug Graham.
“It’s time to move forward,” Graham told board members during discussion of the projects Monday night. “We need to get the ball rolling if we’re okay with the projects and the cost.”
Nothing can move forward until architect’s drawings are submitted to the state education department and fire marshals for approval, Graham said. “We’re not asking for state money, so the state won’t critique the project as hard,” speeding up the approval process.
The district had an operating balance of $5.1 million at the end of the fiscal year June 30. A new state law will require schools to have an operating balance of no more than 20 percent of revenue, meaning that Nashville’s balance must be reduced to $2.8 million. Part of the balance was transferred to the building fund Monday night to fund the construction project and comply with the new law.
“The $2.8 million is a moving target every year,” Graham said. “If local revenues change, the assessment changes. We never know that $2.8 million will be the magic number” because the amount could increase or decrease year to year.
“We have to plug the money into the building fund or haul off and spend it on something else. It can’t go into the salary fund, because when it’s gone, it’s gone,” Graham said.
The agri building will be 8,000 square feet, with two classrooms, restrooms and “a big shop,” Graham said.
Howard Construction will tear down the existing building, starting at the end of the fall semester.
The facility is expected to be open in August 2018, with the agri department relocated during the spring semester of 2018.
The bus garage will be 60 x 100 feet. The board also approved a shed 40 feet deep and long enough for 25 buses. The shed will add about $71,000 to the cost, Graham said.
The exterior of both buildings will be splitface block to 8 feet
high, resembling the Scrapper Dome and Scrapper Arena. The facilities will be pre-engineered metal buildings.
Graham said his goal two weeks ago was “to move the bus garage, but we haven’t had the first nibble” on a site for the relocation. The agri building is in “the best place where it is now for students to walk to class.”
The district and Howard County officials have discussed selling the old hospital site to the school. “There could be a chance to end up with the old hospital property,” Graham said.
Graham said architect Craig Boone of Architecture Plus in Fort Smith will submit drawings and clearances by late September or early October. If the state approves them, construction materials will be onsite by the end of the fall semester, according to Graham. “The buildings should be ready for the fall of 2018.”
Board president David Hilliard voiced his support for the project. “We need to make a move,” he said. Monica Clark made the motion to move ahead with construction, and the motion passed 5-0.
In other business Monday night, the board approved the district’s budget for 2017-18 on a 5-0 vote. The budget includes a cash balance of $5.1 million, local revenue of about $4.6 million and state revenue of about $11.3 million for a total balance and revenue of about $21million.
Expenditures include about $9.2 million in operating and special funds, $7.15 million in the teacher salary fund and about $335,000 in debt service payment for a total of about $16.7 million. The projected balance on June 30, 2018, is about $4.35 million.
Building principals submitted budget requests for their respective campuses, Graham said. “We granted everything they asked for in building budgets.”
The budget includes upgrades to Wilson Park, asphalt jobs and a roof at primary school.
Board members approved model school policies related to administration, curriculum, finances and classified personnel.
The board added a shooting sport stipend of .02 for David Schwope, the team’s sponsor. The stipend is retroactive to the 2016-17 academic year because Schwope wasn’t paid for sponsoring last year.
Graham told the board that there is “some interest in a fishing team” for Nashville. “Parents have asked me about it. I’ll come back with a recommendation.”
There were no resignations or hirings at Monday’s meeting, one of the shortest in recent memory at slightly more than one hour.
All board members were present, including Hilliard, Clark, Randy Elliott, Mark Canaday and Miles Mitchell.