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Hidden pond alters footprint of new LCHS

By Walter Geiger A long ago filled in pond on the site of the new Lamar County High School has forced alterations in the design footprint for the project but all systems are still go for students to move to the new facility on the first day of school in 2019. The new school will be built on the tract of land where the football practice field is now. The old pond was found on the northwest corner of the property when soil test boring was done. ’The pond issue required some redesign to change the footprint of the buildings on the site. The larger, heavier structures had to be moved to areas that had more stable soils. The budget has increased for site site preparation to strengthen the area where the pond was. Footers have to be poured to stabilize the soil and bad dirt must be removed and replaced in certain areas, It was an unavoidable discovery,’ superintendent Dr. Jute Wilson reported last week. Other than the long forgotten pond, approval of the state budget by the legislature which is now in session is the last remaining hurdle. There is $7.2 million in the budget for the project. ’We are in a holding pattern until the legislators sign off on the budget. We are not eligible for this money if we begin any construction prior to the approval of the budget. We have all the pieces in place so we can hit the ground running once the state officially approves the budget,’ Dr. Wilson continued. The current tentative timeline call for bid collection late this month, state budget approval in March, a ground breaking ceremony in late March or early April and project completion in June, 2019. The new building will consist of about 150,000 square feet. All of the existing high school will be torn down except the career academy, gym and the multipurpose metal building near the gym. The current gym will be used as a second gym. A football practice field will be built where the current high school building is now. The current parking lots will remain and traffic flows will be adjusted. ’The traffic flow and parking will be much improved. Bus drop-off and pick-up will be routed away from student parking and parent drop-off and pick-up,’ Dr. Wilson said. One particular enhancement will be security. The current high school has multiple entry/exit doors which is a problem. The new school will have very few entry points and only one of those will be open during the school day. ’Security is a huge design concern and is, unfortunately, a high priority will all new school construction. The new high school will have state-of-the-art camera systems, digital door locks, quality lighting and a fence around the entire campus. The new building will be much easier to secure and manage access to,’ Dr. Wilson concluded.

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