The company that oversaw recent renovations and additions at Sulphur Springs High School and Early Childhood Learning Center, was awarded the bid Monday night by Sulphur Springs school trustees to serve as construction manager at risk for a $48.4 million bond project.
The district received bids from six companies, which were rated on how well they met 18 criteria set forth by the district, but selected J.T. Turner of Rockwall.
“All six proposals were very good,” Sulphur Springs Independent School District Director of Plant Operations Dale Guest told trustees at Monday night’s regular board meeting. “J.T. Turner is our first choice.”
Guest noted that the district and Turner have already negotiated a 2.75 percent fee, 0.25 percentage points less than the previous projects.
Superintendent Patsy Bolton said district officials were pleased with Turner’s work at the high school, especially their attention to costs, which she said allowed the district to fund more projects. On one occasion, the company fixed a drainage problem at high school without any additional cost to the district.
“From my perspective, their track record is they get the job done,” Guest said.
“Their last project for us went very well. Based on that, we want to see them do it again,” trustee Foy Williams said Monday night. “They’re easy to talk to and work with.”
The $48.4 million bond project was approved by voters May 9. Hiring of the construction manager is just the first step in the project, which will include construction of a new middle school and improvements at existing facilities, according to Bolton. There’s a lot of paperwork to be completed before any construction can begin, including selling the bonds.
The school board will meet again Wednesday at noon to decide whether or not to approve or reject bids for sale of the bonds. Dan Almon with Southwest Securities is taking bids today on the bonds.
“We’re hoping for a low interest rate,” Bolton said. “On the prior bond issue, the figure was about 5 and a half percent. It was 5.02 yesterday. Today could be lower or higher. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
In other business Monday night, school trustees appointed Kerry Wright of Copy Products to fill the one-year vacancy left by Carolyn Thomas’ resignation last month. Bolton said Thomas is relocating to Washington, D.C., to be closer to her daughter and grandson.
Board president Clay Johnson welcomed Wright to the panel.
“You have big shoes to fill. Mrs. Thomas was a good board member and we hate to lose her, but we feel good gaining you,” he said.
Wright grew up in Sulphur Springs. He went to school with board members Johnson, Don Sapaugh and Jason Dietze, and was coached by two other trustees, Foy Williams and Jack Chubb.
“We had four or five excellent candidates we considered,” Johnson said. “We believe you are a leader in the community and a fine upstanding individual. We welcome you and look forward to serving with you for the best for the kids and our district.”
Wright was sworn in by Judy Gregg, then sat in on an executive session where the board discussed personnel matters.
Following the executive session, the board filled some positions and accepted some resignations.
Hirings included Lacy Coker as a speech therapist; Rock Fade as high school physics teacher; Devry McDonald as health teacher and coach; Ramona Leah Gore as special education teacher at Lamar Elementary to replace a teacher transferring to the middle school; Ashley Holt, moving from a special education position at Bowie Elementary to the special education office to serve on all campuses; and Veronica Arnold, who is moving from Douglas Intermediate to the middle school to replace Jamie Fite, who retired. The board also hired some aides, according to Bolton.
They also accepted the resignations of Sulphur Springs Middle School Principal Glenn Wilson, who is retiring; a high school Spanish teacher; a nurse at Lamar Elementary, who is moving; Michelle Barron, high school English teacher and coach, who is moving; and Shirley Benson, retiring after 27 years as Bowie Elementary librarian.
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