Architect set to aid board in sorting out funding uses
by JOYANNA LOVE Banner Senior Staff Writer
Oct 18, 2013 | 1597 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The Bradley County Board of Education will receive guidance from architect Kaatz, Binkley, Jones and Morris to ensure Blue Springs code uprgrades insurance payments can be used.

Board members voted Thursday to get the architect involved working with Travelers Insurance company’s engineer to see if expansion of the lobbies of the auditorium and gymnasium at Lake Forest Middle School would qualify for funds use.

These funds would have been to bring the school damaged by a tornado in April 2011 up to current safety codes. The insurance company has said it will allow the funds to be used at Lake Forest Middle School, if a qualifying project is found.

Angie Lyon of Kaatz, Binkley, Jones and Morris said she had been involved in the initial insurance negotiation for Blue Springs Elementary to ensure the school system received as much as it should have under the policy agreement.

Initial insurance payments are being held toward the eventual construction of a new Blue Springs Elementary school. These funds are insufficient to construct the entire school.

“We are very experienced with working with Travelers, how they operate and what we need to be doing to satisfy their requirements,” Lyon said. “We are also very familiar with Lake Forest.”

Lyon said she had already begun looking at needed code upgrades to the lobbies. The school system has been told by an insurance representative that the projects should qualify. An official word has not been given.

Board member Troy Weathers had concerns about the architectural fees. Lyon said there would not be a charge to talk with the insurance company and determine if the project would qualify. Fees would begin at the design stage.

If designs were drawn and then the insurance company said the money could not be put toward the project, then the school system would only be charged a partial fee.

Board member Rodney Dillard asked Lyon is designs were drawn and not used, could they be used later when funding for the entire Lake Forest renovation was available. Lyon said they could.

The board also voted to give the executive committee the authority to move forward with the design process if the project is approved. The executive committee is made up of chairwoman Vicki Beaty and Bradley County Schools Director Johnny McDaniel.

“I don’t think we should give the executive committee authority to spend $30,000 [the estimated architect fee] when we haven’t heard all the details yet,” board member Troy Weathers said. “I kind of like to know what’s going on before I commit this school system and this county.”

He said some board members that are not on the executive committee have expertise that could be beneficial on the process. Board member Christy Critchfield asked Beaty to let board members know when the executive committee is meeting, so they could be in on the conversation if available.

Progress on construction and maintenance issues throughout the system were also given to the board.

The work on an eight-classroom addition and cafeteria expansion at Walker Valley High School is ahead of schedule.

“Things out at Walker Valley are going fantastic,” Lyon said.

Lyon said the crews are reporting they are “a month ahead of schedule.”

“On the cafeteria portion, the brick is complete. The roof is on,” Lyon said.

The classroom addition is at the brick stage. Lyon said electrical work is also continuing.

A paving project to fix parking lot issues at Valley View Elementary School was also discussed.

Parts of the asphalt had developed ruts under the weight of school buses, said, Rocky Chambers, part of the team overseeing the project.

When the lot was most recently paved, buses picked children up and dropped them off at the front of the school, according to McDaniel. Now, children are picked up at the back of the school.

The asphalt at the back of the shool had not been poured to the correct strength for the weight of school busses, Chambers said. The board approved a bid from Caldwell Paving for $42,954.

Chambers said any crumbling asphalt would be removed and a thicker concrete will be put on bus traffic areas. A construction method is being used to prevent water runoff issues from the improvements.

Roofing projects for Lake Forest Middle and Prospect Elementary schools contracts are still being worked out.

A new vision insurance plan for employees and a budget amendment to accept grant funding were also approved during the meeting.