The Thomaston-Upson Board of Education approved an HVAC project for Upson-Lee North Elementary School for a total of $1,020,000. The action came at their March 11 meeting. Chair Keith Rohling was absent and Vice Chair Jacqueline Hollis moderated the meeting.
Mike Majors, Director of Operations, presented the bids to the board, stating that three companies bid on the job, with J. M. Clayton of Thomaston coming in with the low bid of $949,000. Majors noted that the project was estimated to cost $1.1 million.
“So we’re real pleased with that and real pleased that a local company will be doing the work,” said Majors. “They did the work over at South Elementary a few years back and did a real good job.”
Majors also requested that since the project did come under its estimate, that the board also approve two alternate add-ons. The first is a bi-polar ionization system for an additional $34,000.
“That will really help the humidity at school, and I would suggest that we go with it,” noted Majors. “It will really control the outside air intake in that building.”
In the HVAC project, which will install individual air conditioners in each of the classrooms, similar to those at Upson-Lee South and Upson-Lee Middle, only the wall the air conditioner would be installed in would be re-painted in each classroom. Majors said the second alternate add-on would be for the contractors to re-paint all of the walls in each classroom for an additional $19,000. Majors said if they has sub-contracted for someone else to re-paint the walls, he doubted they would get it done for that price.
Majors recommended that the board approve the bid and the two alternates. The total bid price, including the alternates, is $1,020,000, still well under the estimated cost of $1.1 million. He noted that while this is a project that is being funded under the SPLOST III referendum, that the school system is also receiving money from the state’s capital outlay fund for this project. The system will receive about $527,000 from the State of Georgia for this project.
Majors also advised the board that under a different issue, the school system has more special needs children coming into Pre-K, and has needed to hire an additional teacher and run a bus more often for those children. He said Pre-K is running out of classroom space and that they need to add another classroom in the shop area where they did the initial renovation. Majors stated he did not believe the cost would be that much, but that they are required to hire an architect and go through the State of Georgia approval process anytime they provide classroom space for students. He added that they will also add another restroom. Majors said this project would be funded with local dollars.
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Mike Gatlin reminded the board that the system working with special needs children in the Pre-K program is part of the state’s Child Find program.
“This is a service we provide the community that most people don’t know we do,” said Gatlin. “These are kids aged 3-5 that we are serving before they get to school age, and are required by law to go out, find those children, and serve those special needs children in that group. And that group continues to grow in our community. That’s why we’re having to add the classroom and teacher.”
Board member Terrell Jackson made a motion to approve the total bid for the HVAC project at Upson-Lee North and the addition of the Pre-K classroom based on the system’s need for the additional space. Board member Miriam Elsey seconded the motion and it was approved, 6-0.