School board may expand camera system

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 15, 2001

Students at Natchez High School and Robert Lewis Middle School will soon find that more eyes are watching them.

The Natchez-Adams School Board voted Thursday to advertise for bids to expand its camera system on the high school campus and to add cameras to the middle school campus.

Five cameras were installed at Natchez High School last year and officials say adding 11 extra cameras will further improve security.

&uot;We do not have enough cameras and as you put cameras up naturally problem areas may move,&uot; said Dr. Wayne Barnett, director of student activities, security and safety.

He wants to add 10 cameras to the middle school campus.

&uot;Sure we could use more than that but this is what we’re asking for at this time,&uot; Barnett said.

School board member Camille Jackson asked if district officials could track information on the success of the cameras to justify the money. The additional cameras are estimated to cost $25,000.

Also on Thursday, the board accepted a bid from Smith Painting and Contracting of Hattiesburg to renovate student bathrooms in the Natchez-Adams School District.

The company submitted a bid of $489,000, the lowest of four bids with the highest being that of $780,000 from Harold West Contractors of Laurel.

Johnny Waycaster of Waycaster and Associates Architects said the range in the bids did not bother him. Smith specializes in this type of project, and West does not, he said.

&uot;He’s not into painting … as Smith is and that alone explains the difference between the high bid and the low bid,&uot; Waycaster said.

Of the four companies, Smith submitted the highest unit cost bid, $1,800, for unexpected repair to floor drains.

&uot;We don’t anticipate using that but we have it in the contract so we don’t have to negotiate after signing the contract,&uot; Waycaster said.

The architects believe they have identified all the drains needing repair. Those are included in the overall bid as accepted from Smith.

Still, if other problems are discovered, the unit cost bid should be adequate and satisfy the contractor’s expenses in that event, Waycaster said.

In other business Thursday:

District officials announced that all teaching vacancies except for seven had been filled for the upcoming school year.

The board discussed district policies for hiring administrators and teachers and the policies it followed for giving employee recommendations.

&uot;There are certain questions that we can answer and certain questions that we cannot answer, and we do adhere to that,&uot; said Fred Longs, director of personnel.

Officials are also adding exit interviews to its personnel procedures, Longs said.

The board approved a new set of fees for organizations wanting to lease district facilities for special events.

Board members gave blanket approval for Coach James Denson to take the high school football team to run on the levee of the Mississippi River in Vidalia, La. The approval hinges on approval from Vidalia officials.

The board approved staff and student handbooks for the upcoming year and approved its updated board policy manual.

Members voted to suspend the district’s developmental increment program or tuition assistance program for certified employees pending more research on what benefits it could offer.