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School system contracts with architect on Southside project

In the process of addressing facility needs at the Southside Elementary School, where school officials have been told by an engineer the main building is structurally failing, the Grady County Board of Education authorized Superintendent Lee M. Bailey to execute an architectural contract with Raymond C. Finger of Thomasville.
According to Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kermit Gilliard, Finger will prepare a schematic of the auditorium and project the cost to renovate the existing school auditorium building as well as the cost to construct a new auditorium.
School officials have said previously the goal is to save the auditorium if at all possible. Preserving the remainder of the main building is not a priority of the school board.
“Our hope is we can renovate the existing auditorium. There are already renovation funds available so we want to get started as soon as possible,” Dr. Gilliard said.
The auditorium section of the main building is a two-story structure with approximately 8,000 square feet on the ground floor and approximately 2,100 square feet on the second floor.
The contract calls for Finger to be paid six percent of the construction cost of the project and $2,000 upon execution of the contract.
Long-term, Superintendent Bailey is looking to replace the main building with a new two-story administrative building, which will include classrooms to be built on the northeast side of the campus facing Fourth Avenue S.E. That project and other new construction at Southside would be included in the projects to be paid for with Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax proceeds if a referendum is approved this November to extend the sales tax for schools.
The board Tuesday night also accepted the bid of $7,510 from Joey Brock Surveying to survey the Southside campus. Other bids received included: $14,000 from Carlton & Associates of Thomasville and $14,900 from Williams Land Surveying of Cairo.
The survey will include boundary information, existing paving, existing building locations with finished floor elevations of each, topographical information to one foot contours, any known utilities and infrastructure as well as storm water inlet/outlet elevations, and existing trees.
“The property has been defined for many years. Is this a typical thing to do before beginning a building project?” board member Drew Pyrz asked.
Architect Raymond Finger told Pyrz and the other board members that such a survey would be beneficial for every design professional that ever works on the campus.
According to Finger, the survey would also allow the architects to determine the best way to manage stormwater. “We’ve seen the evidence of water damage to the existing main building and there is evidence of water doing damage to some of the other buildings. It is imperative to channel water correctly,” Finger said.

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