​Two Different Contractors Will Build Middle Schools

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the March 29 meeting, the Franklin County School Board selected Biscan Construction to build the new North Middle School and Southland Constructors to build South Middle School. Of the five contractors bidding, three bid on both schools, Southland among them. The bids by R. G. Anderson and Barton Malow Construction offered a discounted price if awarded the contract for both schools. The combined bid from the contractors selected, $40,588,200, was nearly a million dollars less than the next lowest bidder, Barton Malow, even after taking the discount into account.
Biscan’s $20,258,500 bid includes HVAC for the Huntland School gym, as requested in the bid package. The County Commission allocated $48 million for construction of the middle schools.
“It’s good not to be up against the wall,” said Construction Manager Gary Clardy who pointed out unforeseen costs could arise. Clardy also noted the bids didn’t include $1.8 million for the design and $4 million earmarked for technology.
“We selected the lowest and best bidders,” said Director of Schools Stanley Bean.
Both companies are experienced and reputable, according to Clardy who has an extensive background in school construction. “We’re confident they’re good contractors and manageable; we can manage them.”
Bean credited his staff for the project being a month ahead of schedule. He thanked Assistant Superintendent Linda Foster, Primary Supervisor Jenny Crabtree, and Secondary Supervisor Diane Spaulding—“They’ve taken care of a lot for me”—freeing him up to collaborate with Clardy and the designers.
In regular business, the board reviewed three policy changes recommended by the Tennessee School Board Association (TSBA). The board approved amending the Tobacco Free Schools Policy to strengthen the language forbidding electronic cigarettes and amending the Promotion and Retention Policy to strengthen the parent notification protocol in instances of retention.
The revised Promotion and Retention Policy stipulates parents must be notified by February 1. The policy allows exceptions to the notification deadline due to enrollment date, assessment, medical and other pertinent circumstances.
The board took issue with some of the provisions of the new Alternative Credit Options Policy, which would allow students to earn high school credit for online courses offered by other institutions.
The policy stipulates the state will provide a list of approved Course Access Programs. “For any courses we don’t offer, a student can take as many courses as they want from the list. The schools system will be required to pay for the first two courses,” explained Board Chair Cleijo Walker. She expressed concern about the expense.
The policy also stipulates students can substitute online courses for classroom courses if they have a scheduling conflict.
“The scheduling conflict criterion leaves us wide open,” observed Sara Liechty, school board member. “We need stronger parameters.”
The board deferred voting on the policy. Foster will request more information from the TSBA.
Board Member Christine Hopkins announced the budget for the Winchester Tennessee College of Applied Technology had $1.5 million in unallocated funds that could be used for additional certification programs. The top picks of the students and parents surveyed were X-ray technician and auto mechanics.
“The Shelbyville TCAT auto mechanics program has a years waiting list,” Hopkins observed. A decision on how to spend the extra funds is pending.
The board will meet May 6 for a working session to discuss the 2020-2021 budget. The board’s next regular meeting is May 13.