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Bid opening for new Natchez High School postponed

NATCHEZ — Natchez Adams School District officials postponed opening bids for the construction of the New High School until 2 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 24, at the Braden Administration Building.

The bid opening had been placed on the agenda for the Tuesday, Nov. 17, regularly scheduled board meeting, however, officials said some of the bidding parties could not attend the meeting because of COVID-19 and asked to reschedule.

District officials plan to build a new high school on the “bean field” adjacent to the current Natchez High School campus and renovate the existing high school to house middle school students.

The $25 million project is being financed through a combination of a 3 mil tax levy and Trust Certificates.

Also during Tuesday’s meeting, Phillip West, a board member, asked the school board attorney Bruce Kuehnle to draft a new board policy for construction projects.

The policy would require the company that wins the construction bid to prioritize hiring local and minority vendors to the extent possible for any subcontracts throughout the construction process.

West asked the board to waive a 30-day policy review process for adopting a board policy so that the new policy could be in place before the board hires a contractor for the new school.

“When we select the management group for this particular project, we’re indicating to them at that time that we want them to act in such a way that there will be local participation or for them to prioritize as much local participation as we can get,” West said, adding that the new policy would apply to the new school and future contracts.

West also said the policy should also include language that requires the contractor to give quarterly updates to the board of trustees on their progress.

West said the board members wanted local participation and regular updates but did not include those stipulations in their advertisement for bids.

“Whoever gets the lowest and best bid, whether they are from Natchez or from Timbuktu, it would be good for them to have what our policy is as it relates to this project,” West said. “We need to impress upon whoever gets the contract that we expect them to do all they can to have local participation and minority participation in these particular contracts.”

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