School construction work continues

Construction of additional parking lot space at Hernando High School is one of the projects being undertaken at DeSoto County Schools facilities this summer. Other projects include HVAC replacement and retrofitting, window replacement, parking lot overlay, and the construction of additional classroom space.

Schools in DeSoto County don’t lie dormant during the summer months and in some cases, crews are using the summer to renovate, update and add to the public school district’s buildings.

Leaders in the district’s Physical Plant Department have given the DeSoto County Schools Board of Education an update on summer construction and renovation work.

In almost all cases, the projects being undertaken are on schedule. Department Director Jerry White said one issue is an expansion of additional classrooms at Lewisburg Middle School.

But White was also confident all of the projects being done would be ready for the start of classes in August.  

“We had a lot of dirt work to do there and a lot of pipes to move,” said White. “With the wet season, we had a lot of dirt that we had to move in to raise the platform up to the building to be built on. That was the slow start to getting it out of there.”

Several projects are being done in the school district this summer. They include the replacement of windows at Southaven Elementary School, replacement of the HVAC system at Horn Lake Intermediate, an HVAC retrofit project at Hernando High School, renovation work at Olive Branch Intermediate School, parking lot construction at Hernando High School and overlay work at DeSoto Central High School.

The classroom additions are for four new rooms each at Center Hill Middle School, DeSoto Central Primary School and Pleasant Hill Elementary School.

Eight additional classrooms are being added at Lewisburg Middle School, which White noted was lagging behind in progress compared to the others.  

“I think the Lewisburg school, which has got the most classrooms, might be the one that’s a little bit farther behind,” White noted. “Everything else is pretty much up to where we’d like to see it. Having more classrooms to this project is going to make it a little bit longer to complete.”

The Horn Lake Middle School HVAC work was actually ahead of schedule, while the others were on schedule, officials said, mostly due to some good work by the contractors involved.  
“We got off to a really slow start because of the weather earlier,” White said. “It was wet early in the spring and late winter. We’ve been playing catch up and I think we’re almost caught up in every area where we’d like to see it at this point in time.”

Supt. Cory Uselton said district officials are keeping a close tab on the summer work.  

“We’re monitoring it closely and I’m getting frequent updates,” Uselton said. “We want to make sure that everything is completed and ready by the start of school on Aug. 6.”

In other action from Thursday’s school board meeting, the upcoming school year budget was approved as presented with no changes.

DCS Chief Financial Officer Stacey Graves told the board there had been no public comment about the budget proposal, which was presented earlier in June.

HVAC replacement work for three DCS schools, Olive Branch High School, Pleasant Hill Elementary and Shadow Oaks Elementary were approved with Nance Mechanical receiving the bid at a little more than $69,000.  

The meeting Thursday was held with a minimum number of members to make a quorum. The five-member body was without board members Sarah Doss Thomas and Michelle Henley, both of whom were not able to attend.  

Bob Bakken is Staff Writer for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.  

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