Muscogee County School Board questions $80K for Carver High storage building

mrice@ledger-enquirer.comOctober 14, 2013 

The topic was about pads and mats, and Muscogee County School Board members sure could have used them Monday evening as they verbally wrestled with central office administrators about another change order to the project that built the new Carver High School.

Like a tag-team match, board members took turns during their work session to question the administration's request for an estimated $80,000 to construct a building to store pads and mats used for field events, such as high jump and pole vault, at the school.

This would be the 12th change order in the $37 million project that rebuilt Carver, which re-opened in August 2012. Freeman & Associates of Columbus and Balfour Beatty Construction of Atlanta are partners as the project's main contractors. Gardner Spencer Smith Trench & Jarbeau of Atlanta is the architect.

John Wells of District 2 was the board's lead inquisitor. He wanted to know why such storage wasn't planned in the original project.

"We've got a lot of money in that building," Wells said. "It's a great school. I want it to be a flagship. But when we overlook an $80,000 building for storage … I've got a lot of unanswered questions in my mind."

Naomi Buckner of District 4 asked whether the pads and mats were purchased before the project was planned. Gary Gibson, the superintendent's executive assistant who serves as the system's athletics director, replied, "We knew we would have these movables, but we did not know everything we would need to store them. We have not built a building such as this."

Mark Cantrell of District 6 is CEO of Action Buildings, so he knows storage facilities as well as anyone. He insisted the estimated cost "sounds like a very high price" for a building district construction director Bobby Hecht figured would be 15-20 feet by about 60 feet.

Pat Hugley Green made this fuss fizzle out when she noted the $80,000 is only an estimated cost and the district still would have to put the change order out for a bid and the board still would have final approval.

Wells and Cantrell, however, weren't done questioning change orders. They also asked why the storage facility for records on Lorenzo Road now needs $47,000 for shelves. Cantrell said that project would add up to $510,000.

Teacher fired

The Muscogee County School District has fired the Northside High School teacher charged with attempted sexual assault of a student.

The English language arts teacher, Tucker Hearn, was listed as terminated on the district's personnel report, which the Muscogee County School Board officially received during Monday's work session.

Hearn waived his preliminary hearing Sept. 18 in Columbus Recorder's Court and was released on his own recognizance with a $10,000 bond. The case is pending in Muscogee Superior Court.

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