Pocahontas School Superintendent Explains the Major Improvement Project Award
In his July Superintendent’s Report, Terrence Beam, Pocahontas School Superintendent , explains what the recently awarded approximately nine-hundred and twenty-five thousand dollar ($925,000) Major Improvement Grant from the School Building Authority (or SBA)will do for the County Schools.
“We applied for an MIP –Major Improvement Project- to replace the sewer system at the High School; the water tank at the high school; a patch of roofing on the Vocational Building; and some windows and doors at the Vocational Building, as well as one garage door” said Mr. Beam. “The total cost of that was $925,000, approximately. MIP’s are limited to one million dollars, and are also limited to one school per county per year. And with the sewerage system being the most dire problem we have, it was apparent that we needed to do our MIP on Pocahontas County High School. I really expected that we would receive the money for the sewer system, but I wasn’t necessarily hopeful that we would get the remainder of that money. And lo and behold, the SBA appropriated the entire nine-hundred and twenty-five thousand dollar grant, which I want to reiterate to the public that this is nine-hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars that we do not have to repay. We do not have to come up with any local matching funds. This is totally a grant from the SBA to make those repairs at the high school.”
“Questions have been asked of me as to if we do not spend all of this money for what is needed, what happens to the rest of the money, still waiting for a response from the SBA on that. I do know one thing, it cannot, I repeat cannot be used for other schools in our county. If it was, of course, we would do that, but I think they will allow us to keep the remainder of those funds and improve the high school facility.”
“But as far as where we are right now, we are actually still awaiting the grant award- the check itself and so forth –actually I don’t think it even comes in a check, it just comes in a letter and we draw funds from the SBA. But we have to advertise for an Architect first –that’s the first step. In this week’s paper, there will be an article in there asking for Architectural firms to bid on our project. Now whether they’re just bidding on the sewer system, or the water tower or the windows or doors, or all together, that will come out in the paper. After the ads go out, we will accept applications for the Architectural work until July the 31st. At the July 31st Board meeting, I will simply let the Board know how many Architectural firms applied and then we will set up interviews. If there is more than one we set up interviews, if there is only one, we will still set up an interview to make sure the Architectural firm we recommend to hire has done this type of work before and knows the process. Our intent is to hire an architect at either the August 7th or August 21st Board of Education Meeting. All these things is a process that we must go through in order to follow the regulations the SBA puts out for us. And then the Architects would design the plant and any of the other parts of the project they are in charge of doing, and then we would simply place out for bid the installation of the project, as far as the water tank or the sewer system or if any of the other parts of this project have to be bid, than we will go through that process. The first part we are going to do is get the sewer system finished. That is priority one, and then after that we will move on to the water tank, which is still usable at this time, but is on its last legs, it’s like a lot of other things in our county. It will be the next big project. And then the windows and doors at the Vocational Building – that’s a project that can be done in the wintertime if necessary.
“That’s pretty much where we are right now. We’ll hire an Architect we’ll bid out the work. Hopefully we want the project completed as soon as possible –I am not going to put a time frame on that. I do know that our sewer system is going to get the attention first, and hopefully we can get that done by wintertime. I am not sure we can, but we are certainly going to make every attempt. When we get further into the project, I will call you back, Tim, and give you an update as to where we are, who we’ve hired and what the process is.”