Sports building OKd

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 17, 2006

VIDALIA &8212; Plan A was advised against. Plan B came in over budget. It&8217;s C that&8217;s actually going to happen.

The Concordia Parish School Board opened and awarded a bid for construction of the Vidalia High School athletic building Tuesday night, close to a year after it first appeared on their agenda.

Vidalia-based Wilmar Construction&8217;s base bid of $389,800 was still more than the district wanted to spend, but it&8217;s better than the last round of bids, the board said. In May they rejected a low bid of $624,700 from a Pineville contractor.

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&8220;We were looking for $350,000,&8221; Business Manager Tom O&8217;Neal said. &8220;This worked out as it worked out.&8221;

The board also approved nearly $20,000 in alternate bids &8212; additional work the company will do to the building.

Three board members voted against the bid though, saying they thought the project was still too expensive. Originally, the board wanted to build the building for $100,000 with volunteer labor from the sheriff&8217;s office and the Vidalia mayor&8217;s office. Later they decided the building was worth more money, and advertised for construction bids.

&8220;We started off with $100,000, then $600,000, now with the alternates it&8217;s going to be $400,000,&8221; board member Mary Campbell said Tuesday. &8220;Do we have that kind of money to put into it?&8221;

Raymond Riley and Melanie Watson also voted against accepting the bids.

O&8217;Neal said the athletic building would be funded through capital outlay dollars. It has been on the list of planned projects for several years. Capital outlay money &8212; in bulk tax dollars from a property tax &8212; have also funded the $1.3 million expansion to Vidalia High, the new Ferriday High School band hall and roofs on several buildings. Still on the list for completion are renovations to Ridgecrest School and air conditioning the gyms at the high schools, O&8217;Neal said.

&8220;All schools put in what they wanted to get done,&8221; board member Ricky Raven said. &8220;We did the band hall at Ferriday last year. We&8217;ve moved forward with roofs and band rooms. We&8217;ve got an agenda list, and we&8217;ve been trying to cross this one off and move forward or not move forward.&8221;

After the $600,000 bids were rejected in May the board asked the architect to scale back the design. The building will serve as a weight room and changing area for Vidalia athletes. Currently the athletes change and lift weights in cramped spaces and hallways.

In other business, the board approved changing the school calendar at the Ferriday schools to make Sept. 29 a teacher workday. Students will not attend school on that day as originally scheduled.

The next board meeting will be a specially called meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 1 to approve personnel hiring appointments before the start of school.