$600,000 contract for MHS project OK’d

The Marietta City Board of Education on Monday approved a nearly $600,000 contract to expand and renovate the high school so students won’t have to leave the building to change classes.

The $596,300 contracts to add approximately 5,800 square feet of classroom space to the Colegate Drive side of the building and build an enclosed walkway between the main building and the auditorium and gymnasium were awarded to Marietta-based Grae-Con Construction during a special meeting in the administration office. The vote was 4-0, with board Vice President Wendy Myers absent.

The project “allows us to utilize the security system in the high school by having the kids under one roof,” Superintendent Harry Fleming said after the meeting.

Because a few classes are held in the administration building and the gym and auditorium are housed in a separate building, students are constantly going in and out of the main building. This prevents the school from utilizing its door-lock system.

The board in March declared an “urgent necessity” in order to waive the usual competitive bidding requirements for projects more than $50,000. They cited the project’s relation to security and the fact that waiting for the bid process would have delayed the start of the project, much of which cannot be done while school is in session.

The bulk of the work will take place over the summer, but everything won’t be finished by the time students return in August.

“Classes will start up here,” Dave Davis, the district’s transportation, buildings and grounds manager, said in the administration building following Monday’s meeting. “We hope by Christmas break to second semester to be in that (main) building.”

However, Davis said the door-lock system will be in use at the start of the 2013-14 school year.

The remaining work can be accomplished even after school reopens, Davis said.

“We may have to paint it, finish hanging some lights and things,” he said.

In an effort to save money, district employees will be performing some tasks, including wiring and painting, Davis said.

The project is slated to begin this month, as the last day of classes is May 24.

“Contractor said they’re starting day after school’s out,” Davis said. “There may be materials here before then.”