Architect Perry Watson approached the Webster Parish School Board with his recommendation on how to simplify needed construction at J.A. Phillips Middle School and Webster Junior High School.
In Monday’s meeting, he recommended first that advertisement for bids begin immediately at Phillips to get the gymnasium air conditioned. He then suggested using Fibrebond Corporation to build the kindergarten wing onto Phillips, since they have been used at that school before, and using traditional construction at WJHS, because it contains a gymnasium in its plans.
“We feel like it’s a good mix of using local industry and also contracting and sub-contracting resources in a conventional manner as well,” he said.
However, some discussion arose concerning future growth as modular buildings restrict technology expansion. District 6 Board Member John Madden says if they use traditional construction, it would allow for easier moving of wiring and meeting electrical needs in the future.
In the end, board members approved Watson’s recommendation with a builder’s option for Phillips, which will allow the builder to choose whether to go with modular or conventional construction.
Watson says they have gathered aerial photos, plans and other planning information before moving forward with going out for bids.
“We’re getting pricing for necessary survey work as well as soil boring and analysis work,” he said.
He suggested combining construction at both schools into one project, because both projects must be done simultaneously and students will have to be moved from one location to another.
“We feel like having this in a larger contractor’s wheelhouse is going to be much better way to go,” Watson said. “You’ll be more guaranteed to get the work done on time, and we’ll receive some economy of scale in that materials can be delivered and put in a little bit cheaper than two separate projects.”
He expects to go out for bids in June with the project completion date of July 2017.
A new kindergarten building will be constructed at Phillips with additional renovations to accommodate the younger aged students, and it will house Pre-K, kindergarten and first grade.
A new wing will be constructed at Webster Junior High School to accommodate the sixth grade students moving from Phillips. In addition to the wing, a gymnasium/multi-purpose building will be constructed.
The consolidation came about as the result of issues plaguing J.E. Harper Elementary students, including inadequate restroom space, high noise levels and other factors.