Construction soon will get under way on a new, larger Evans Elementary School after the Columbia County school board chose a contractor Tuesday.
Trustees awarded the contract for the new Gibbs Road school to McDonald Construction Co., of Vidalia, Ga., based on its low bid among seven companies seeking the project. Including options added to the base price, the system will pay just more than $13.4 million for the school.
“In all my years of doing this, I’ve never seen bids this close,” said school Superintendent Charles Nagle, pointing out that just a few percentage points separated the highest and lowest bids.
Once finished, Evans Elementary will house students from its current zone plus a portion of students from Bel Air Elementary, which is slated to close in 2013. The rest of the Bel Air students will be rezoned to Martinez Elementary, which will be rebuilt on its current campus.
The projects are being funded through the sales tax dedicated for school capital projects.
Also Tuesday, after a protracted debate, board members temporarily deadlocked on a request from Nagle to seek waivers from the state’s minimum class size requirements as one of the ways to fill an expected gap of about $13 million in next year’s budget.
With trustee Wayne Bridges absent, the proposal failed with a 2-2 tie. After a warning from Nagle that failing to approve the waiver would require more than a dozen furlough dates to balance next year’s budget, board members unanimously approved an amended version of the request.
In other action:
• The school board approved the hiring of Kevin Hunt as the new head football coach at Greenbrier High School, replacing Brian Smith, who stepped down at the end of the 2011 season.
Currently a physical education teacher and assistant coach, Hunt came to Greenbrier six years ago after previously serving as head football coach at Cross Creek High School.
• Board members approved a resolution opposing efforts in the Georgia Legislature to circumvent a state Supreme Court ruling last year that allows creation of charter schools outside the control of local boards of education.
The legislation, which failed to pass on its first vote and is under reconsideration, currently is stalled in the state House.