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Contract for Southside auditorium renovation is approved

The cost to renovate and restore the historic auditorium on the Southside Elementary School campus has been reduced and on Tuesday night the Grady County Board of Education authorized the board chairman and superintendent to execute a construction contract.
Board members met this week during a called meeting with Thomasville architect Raymond Finger to discuss the construction contract with Barber Contracting Company of Moultrie.
Through value engineering the total cost was cut by $118,000, bringing the total cost of the project from $1,751,453 to $1,633,453.
“We were able to maintain the integrity of the design so that you wouldn’t be able to walk into the building and see that $118,000 had left the building,” Finger said.
The architect says he anticipates having a permit from the state fire marshal’s office later this week. Finger will coordinate with Barber officials to mobilize and fence off areas designated by school Principal Janet Walden.
While the original wings of Southside’s main building will be razed due to being structurally unsound, school system officials expressed interest in saving the historic auditorium if financially feasible.
School Superintendent Dr. Kermit Gilliard and Finance Officer Dan Broome told board members that the majority of the auditorium project could be funded with Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax 3 funds that were earmarked for facilities improvements at Southside.
Gilliard recommended entering into a contract with Barber so that work can soon get underway. Originally, it had been thought work would have begun in March or April, according to Dr. Gilliard.
Finger also updated the board members on the Southside A,B,C project, which is a three-building project to replace the wings of the original main building and create a new administrative building facing Fourth Avenue S.E.
According to Finger, the state Department of Education has tentatively approved his design plans and he has submitted the plans to a cost estimating firm to obtain cost estimates.
“This firm knows every week what project bids are and they will give us feedback. We don’t want to get to the end and get a number that is higher than we thought,” Finger said.
In related news, Dr. Gilliard reported that the purchase of another property on Third Street S.E. adjacent to the Southside campus had been closed as of last Thursday. The system bought a house and property from David A. Rozar for $35,000.
“We’ve already had two calls from people interested in moving the house,” Dr. Gilliard told board members.
The superintendent said that the system would have to solicit bids and accept the highest offer. He said he would discuss with board attorney Thomas L. Lehman the procedure to follow in order to have the house moved.
Another issue is an overgrown pool in the back yard of the residence. Dr. Gilliard said he would look into the best options to fill in the former swimming pool.

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