Thompson awards bids for roof

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 22, 2000

Thompson School on North Union Street may soon have drier days in its future. Construction should begin this fall on a new roof for the hundreds of children who attend the leak-prone Head Start facility. Lamar Braxton, executive director of AJFC Community Action Agency, said the Head Start provider awarded a bid to replace the roof Friday.

&uot;I’m really happy about this,&uot; said Braxton, who thinks uncertainty over the building led to a drop in student enrollment this year.

Usually about 500 infant to preschool-age children attend Thompson, but that number is down to about 400 this fall.

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And the school remains under probation with the Mississippi Department of Health because of its condition.

Braxton said he understands the actions of health officials on the matter.

&uot;They want a safe, nice place for the children to be, and we want that, so we’re all in harmony there,&uot; he said.

School Principal Mamie Mazique said she is happy the bid process is over. The federally funded program is still enrolling children and would like to increase its enrollment.

&uot;I think once we get the roof fixed (and people hear about the renovations) that will help a lot,&uot; Mazique said.

Braxton said the roof work will cost about $379,000, with Rowell being the best of about seven bids and close to the project’s estimate.

The agency has the federal funding available to perform the work, he added.

The work will place a new roof on the original section of the school, and should be completed in the spring, Braxton said.

Student will still be able to attend school during the construction.

Because of the roof problems, teachers and students are not using the section of the school that is leaking.

AJFC is also developing plans to improve other areas of the school such as the electrical system and do other cosmetic work.

&uot;When people walk in (Thompson) they need to feel they are in a good, solid facility,&uot; Braxton said.

Braxton said he did not expect the health department to lift the probation until all projects were completed.