Work is drawing to a close on paving maintenance and improvements at three area middle schools.
Three months after the Liberty County Board of Education approved a $384,000 bid for paving maintenance and improvements at Midway Middle, Snelson-Golden Middle and Joseph Martin Elementary schools, the work is close to completion.
The project, completed by Griffin Contracting, has yet to be closed out, but will be paid with E-SPLOST funds, according to Deputy Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Conley.
During the Oct. 15 meeting when the board approved the bid, members discussed the work with apprehension and voiced reluctance to allow construction to happen during the school year. The board asked if it was feasible to schedule the work for summer, and some members wanted to know why the work was requested.
During the meeting, Rodger Osborne, director of facilities and maintenance, and board engineering consultant Matthew Barrow both explained that the work begins a list of proposed preventive maintenance projects that would place the entire system on a six-year rotation.
At Joseph Martin and Snelson-Golden, administrators said they are thrilled with the work and conveniences that come with new sidewalks, curbs and leveling of the parking lots.
“We’re very excited about the sidewalk,” Conley said. “We did not have sidewalks or anything coming from the subdivisions, so you just walked across the grass or down the street, but now we have sidewalk coming in from where the stop sign is off Joseph Martin Road.”
The sidewalks also connect to the gym, bus ramp and the main entrance. Sidewalks also replaced stepping stones between the main entrance and the teachers’ parking lot.
The sidewalks help reduce dirt tracking indoors, JME Assistant Principal Dr. Kathy Moody said.
Some areas of the parking lot were raised and potholes filled to prevent water from puddling, as well as curbs installed along the perimeter of the roadways, Osborne said.
To ease the board’s concerns about construction work inhibiting campus activities, administrators worked with the project engineer, construction workers and transportation department to ensure the students and workers did not interfere with each other.
“Part of the issue is, you couldn’t do all the work during the Christmas holidays, there was more work than there was time off,” Conley said. “So, to me the key to all this is … we had a couple of meetings, and … everything was organized and coordinated so that you knew this part was going to be off-limits, so this is how the buses are going to run, and this is where we’re going to move parent parking.”
A series of master plans is key to maintenance implementation, according to Conley and Osborne. Plans for the middle-and high-schools are now in place, with Bradwell Institute renovations under way and parking lot maintenance set for the end of the four-phase project.
Another master plan, called the ancillary/alternative education plan, has been made for the Bradwell Street properties, where the board of education central office, Pre-K Center and Olvey Field are located. This plan is guiding the renovations and reconstruction at Olvey Field, which will also include some site work near the Pre-K Center. Staff and consultants have already done physical assessments at each of the district’s elementary schools and are writing the master plan now, Conley said.
In conjunction with the master plan, Barrow said it’s important to identify priorities in advance, because such projects have about a 45- to 60-day lag time from bid approval to groundbreaking for bonding, insurance and contract negotiations. This work, approved Oct. 11, began Dec. 14.