District to begin multi-phase repair projects
By Anne Martin
The Bolivar Bullet
A multi-million-dollar capital improvement project is getting underway in the West Bolivar Consolidated School District to make significant repairs, additions and changes at both the Rosedale and Shaw campus.
According to superintendent, Dr. Will Smith, the $8,731,250 investment has been approved by the school board to cover work taking place at West Bolivar High School, West Bolivar Elementary and the Joe Barnes Career and Technical Center in Rosedale and McEvans in Shaw.
Projects taking place at WBHS include renovations to the football field with a Jumbotron scoreboard, football field house upgrades, football field restrooms and concession station renovations, parking lot, road and sidewalk repairs, office expansion, restrooms, roof repairs and HVAC upgrades.
At the elementary school, parking lot, road and sidewalk repairs are scheduled, a multi-purpose building will be constructed, classrooms, hallways, restrooms and office renovations, HVAC upgrades, roof repairs and a new bus loop and parking.
The Joe Barnes Career and Technical Center is slated to received HVAC upgrades.
At McEvans in Shaw, improvements include a new football field with a Jumbotron scoreboard, new field house with new equipment, administration office, additional classrooms, road pavement and sidewalk repairs, HVAC upgrades and new bus loop and parking.
Smith said a great deal of the HVAC upgrades have been completed. That work was paid for through the ESSER program – Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief. This money was made available to school districts following COVID. All of the HVAC work should be complete by July 31st.
Smith said some projects that concern safety will be addressed first, such as updating the alarm and fire system in the buildings, repairing bathrooms and certain doors and completing sidewalks to the buildings.
The biggest project on the list is the football field and field house at McEvans.
“We want to give the students at Rosedale and Shaw access to better facilities, not just on the field but in the classroom,” said Smith. “We are working hard in the classroom to provide a quality education. A safe, plesant learning environment is just as important.”
He added that the multi-purpose building at WBES will allow the students to have a designated space for programs, P.E. and assemblies. There are also plans for a bus loop at the school, but Smith said he is not sure if that is going to work.
“We will do what is the safest for the students.”
Plans call for a bus loop to be located at the front of the building but Smith said there might not be enough room. If not, buses will continue dropping students off at the back of the building.
“I would describe the smell in WBED as an ‘old’ smell, it just smells old,” said Smith. “It’s not mold or mildew, just old and we need to get it out of there.”
Smith said he is also excited about having a clinic at the Rosedale schools staffed by Wyconda Thomas, a nurse practitioner with Healthy Living Healthcare in Gunnison. He said the clinic will not only offer needed care to the students during the school day but also provide physicals for athletes and prescribe needed medications. The clinics will be funded through grants.
Smith said he knows this may sound like a lot – a lot of improvements and a lot of money but so many projects have been put off for a very long time.
“We just can’t wait to make some of these repairs,” said Smith. “Some items have just been neglected for many years and now they must be addressed.”
Of the total investment, $731,250 interest free loan is coming from the Mississippi Education Facilities Revolving Loan Resolution, $1.5 million is from 16th Section rent and leases in the district, and $6.5 million is from the Certificate of Participation (COPS).
“The money that is going to pay for these projects is going to come from our regular budget,” said Smith. “This money will allow us to get these projects completed now while making a monthly payment.”
The Revolving Loan Resolution is an interest free loan that the district will have the opportunity to apply for again.
“To be able to get an interest free loan that is sponsored by the state is definitely beneficial,” said Smith. “The note on this loan will be about $73,000 a year and will come out of the district general fund.”
The COPS loan would be approximately $400,000 a year and that payment will come the district maintenance budget.
Smith said he expects the loans to close before July 15 and for work to begin in August.
The work will be done in phases. The architect for the project is Ferguson and Associates in Madison. A ground breaking ceremony will be held this summer to officially kick-off the improvements.