Roof woes may be history

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 15, 1999

By the time the Head Start program begins in September, the rain falling inside Thompson School should be a thing of the past.

&uot;It used to rain in here. Now it is not doing that,&uot;&160;said Hattie Marshall a nutritionist with AFJC Community Action Agency, the group that operates the Head Start program in Adams County. &uot;(There are) just two or three little places that are leaking now. The rest of the places are all sealed off.&uot;

Fullers Construction has been working on a leaking section of the roof since July, and the company is still fixing a few spots that leaked during last week’s rain.

Email newsletter signup

More than 500 young students will take part in the program during the upcoming school year at the North Union Street school. About 100 took part during this year’s summer program. The school is now closed for repair work, Marshall said.

Roof problems have long plagued the county-owned school.

Because of this, Lamar Braxton, CEO of local AJFC refuses to sign a 20-year lease on Thompson until the roof problems are dealt with.

Although, the county does not want to charge AJFC rent on the building, the lease would mean that the county is no longer required to maintain the building.

&uot;Once that happens the Board of Supervisors no longer has any responsibility for it,&uot; Braxton said. &uot;I think they all understand the basis for it.&uot;

Head Start is issued a new license each year by the Mississippi State Department of Health.

Last year, the county paid to fix to the roof because the state department said the school could not open unless the repairs were made. The repair cost the county $16,000.

Patt Sermos, District Licensing Officer, with the state health department inspected the building again this summer and decided the roof still needed work. The department only granted the school a conditional license this year, Sermos said.

The school was given until December to fix the roof and also was ordered to place safer materials beneath its playground equipment. That work has already been completed, Marshall said. The Board of Supervisors paid Fullers Construction $4,860 to fix the roof.

The county could not get any lower bids on the project, said Pat Powell, county purchasing clerk.

Once AJFC signs the lease, officials think it will be easier for Thompson School to acquire grant funding.

&uot;Through the lease we will have a guaranteed use of the building,&uot; Braxton said.

Grant sources may be more willing to commit to funding the school, if AJFC has possession of it for an extended period of time, Braxton said.