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Major construction project at Southside to begin soon

Work will begin in a matter of days on new construction at Southside Elementary School.
On Tuesday night, the Grady County Board of Education unanimously authorized School Superintendent Dr. Kermit Gilliard to execute a contract with CGM Construction Company of Colquitt for $4,925,000 for the construction of a new administrative building, classrooms and media center at Southside, which will replace the original school structure.
According to Dr. Gilliard, some soil borings have been made and CGM officials have coordinated with Barber Construction, the general contractor on the Southside auditorium renovation project, to begin work in the coming days.
The contract calls for the work to be completed in 365 days, but the contractor has told school system officials the project could be completed sooner.
Dr. Gilliard also told board members the new construction will have polished concrete floors rather than carpet or tile.
“Tile flooring is the cheapest up front, but we are told it is one of the most expensive over the life of the flooring,” Dr. Gilliard said.
Currently, school system crews have to strip and re-wax floors each summer. With the polished concrete, there is no wax and cleaning the floors is as simple as mopping.
Dr. Gilliard also reported Tuesday night that work is progressing on the Southside auditorium renovation and work should be completed before June. Previously, it had been thought the work would be completed by this month, but the contractor was delayed by the tardy delivery of materials.
The superintendent sought and received board authorization to contract with architect Raymond Finger to develop plans for the renovation and expansion of the current Southside cafeteria. The current facility houses both the school’s media center and cafeteria, but a new media center is part of the major construction project at the school.
“I don’t want us to get to the finish of the ABC project and then not know what’s next. We are hopeful we can do what we need to do for $500,000, which is what we have saved on the cost of the ABC project,” Dr. Gilliard said.
The school board also received an update on the Cairo High School College and Career Academy project.
“This project is going slower than all of us would want, but we are beginning to see progress,” Dr. Gilliard said Tuesday night.
Pipe has been delivered to the CHS campus where a detention pond is to be constructed by city labor under an agreement with the city of Cairo.
Dr. Gilliard reported that CTAE Director Todd Gainous and representatives of the architectural firm Buckley & Associates, which designed the new facility, met with State Fire Marshal Larry Ivy Tuesday to go over the final plans. Ivy projected he will complete his review within two weeks. When the plans are submitted to the state level it could take up to 12 weeks for approval.
Bids on the new College and Career Academy as well as the renovation of the existing Vocational Center are due on March 29. Dr. Gilliard said he anticipates making a recommendation to the board on a contractor for the project at the board’s April meeting so that construction can begin as soon as possible.

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