By Sarah Naron
GRAPELAND – The Board of Trustees for the Grapeland Independent School District received updates on the construction of the district’s elementary school building and relocated baseball field during its regularly scheduled monthly meeting held in the Grapeland High School library Monday, Jan. 22.
Hudson Henderson of Goodwin-Lasiter-Strong was on hand to present the members of the board with samples of items such as the bricks and flooring which will be used in the construction of the building.
“It turned out really, really nicely; we’re very pleased with what we’ve come up with,” Henderson said of the design.
“This is going to be a beautiful school for your elementary school kids,” he continued. “It’s going to be efficient for them; it’s going to be efficient for you.”
According to Stephen Berry of Berry and Clay Construction in Rusk, the plans for the building are expected to be received by the company later this week.
“We should get the plans no later than Friday; we’re thinking we might get them Wednesday,” he explained. “I need 15 days to let it be legal, and I’m thinking I’m going to receive bids in between Feb. 15 and 20.”
Berry reported that a great deal of interest has been expressed by entities wishing to bid on constructing the project.
“We’re going to have four and five bids per every category. I think I’m up to about 30 categories for different areas of work,” he said. “We’re going to have a good turnout.”
Berry added that employees of Darling Industries have expressed a desire to be a part of constructing the school, as well as Vulcraft.
“We’re finally getting to the meat and potatoes of it and expect to see some good numbers,” he said.
Berry expressed the hope that the company will be “pushing dirt” on the project in March.
Board members Mitchell Huff, Alan Cheatham and Josh Goolsby provided an update on the relocation of the baseball field.
According to Huff, the field is expected to be ready for use during this year’s season. Lighting has been installed, and the fencing is nearing completion. Weather permitting, the batting cage is expected to be completed by the end of the week.
A great deal of the work on the project has been completed “in house” and at no cost to the district. Materials such as sheet metal have been donated by Vulcraft.
According to Board President Eddie Childress, the total cost of the project is shaping up to be “several hundred thousand dollars” cheaper than projections made by architects consulted by the district.
“A lot of that is because this board has taken a lot of it on themselves and done the bidding process,” he explained. “I want you (the public) to know we’re doing all we can to save dollars; to make it a nice field.
“We want that to go with the new elementary, because that’s the focal point – to get that facility up and being what it should be, (which is) something that the public will be proud of, and I think it will be,” he continued. “The whole project has turned out very nice.”
Anyone with questions on the projects is encouraged to contact any of the board members.
Other items addressed by the board during the meeting included matters pertaining to the upcoming school board election. A motion was made, seconded and unanimously carried to schedule an election for Saturday, May 5. Trustees for Position 3, Position 4 and Position 5 will be elected.
Administrative assistant Kathy Richmond was approved to serve as the early voting clerk, while administrative assistant Elizabeth Reynolds was chosen as election judge.
Sarah Naron may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.