By Russell Hood The Webster Progress-Times
Webster County School District board members have accepted a bid for building a new high school in Cumberland. The district received 10 East Webster High School “Phase 1” bids on May 1 for construction of a building to replace the one destroyed by a tornado on April 27, 2011. Bids to build a new gymnasium will be taken separately. Superintendent of Education Jack Treloar, upon the recommendation of project architect Gary Bailey, recommended the board accept the low bid from Panola Construction Co. of Batesville, minutes reflect. The board approved the recommendation. Panola Construction’s total bid as accepted was $6.083 million. This includes a base bid of $6.063 million plus an alternate of $20,000 to pave the existing drive on the east side of the campus. Treloar said the drive will be used as a service entrance. The superintendent gave an update on the project during Tuesday night’s board meeting. All five of Webster County’s supervisors attended in connection with a ceremony recognizing the county’s three state representatives for their legislative service. Treloar told supervisors a preconstruction meeting was held Monday at Cumberland with the contractor and subcontractors. He said they will move onsite in the next two weeks and start on dirt work. “They told us we will start occupying the building within 371 days,” Treloar said. The former Wood College campus in Mathiston is serving as East Webster High’s location until the new school is built. Treloar said the “L-shaped” wing of the old school, which did not have to be demolished, will be refurbished first. It will be reroofed and completely gutted, and refurbished with all new material. Also, Treloar and board member Keith Hudspeth (District 5) said the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency allocated $650,000 to make the auditorium a safe room. However, the board has since decided to have the new gymnasium double as a safe room instead. The district plans to ask MEMA to move that allocation into the funding for construction of the new gym, which Hudspeth pointed out would be a much wiser use of money. Treloar, responding to a question from supervisors’ President Pat Cummings, confirmed that the district will be able to stay within the funding available for construction from the property insurance settlement and government aid.