School board names architectural firm to begin renovations at Macon Middle School

photo by Vickie Carpenter

Diane Peltz – Contributing Writer

At a special called meeting of the School Board on Tuesday  Oct. 15, Todd Gibbs, administrator of Macon County Schools, announced that they had chosen an architectural firm to begin repairs at Macon Middle School (MMS).

SGA NarmourWright Design was chosen from among five companies that placed bids. Gibbs explained that a seven member committee interviewed three of the companies and decided on SGA. One of the reasons for choosing SGA was that the company provided a CMAR (construction manager at risk) agreement. The Construction Manager at Risk Agreement is a delivery method which entails a commitment by the Construction Manager (CM) to deliver the project within a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) which is based on the construction documents and specifications at the time of the GMP plus any reasonably inferred items or tasks. Since the job will have to be done while students are in school, the committee also considered that this company has extensive experience with several school districts making repairs and renovations while school was in session. 

School board member Fred Goldsmith explained that SGA spent two and a half hours with a team of five reviewing the school’s needs.“It is an impressive group,” he said.

The work will likely not begin until at least next summer, as many requirements still need to be met by the county.  Superintendent of Macon County Schools Dr. Chris Baldwin explained that it could take more than a year to complete, depending on what the firm finds. MMS was built with double brick. Double-brick houses or offices are typically built with double brick walls, timber windows and timber framed floors on stumps. Double-brick walls are constructed of two skins of brickwork with an air gap in between. Dr. Baldwin stated, “you never know what you are going to find once the skins are pulled back.”

Jack Morgan, Macon County Planner, had worked closely with the architectural firm Novus, while they were constructing a new wing at South Macon Elementary School. “That helped the job go smoothly,” he stated.  He feels that doing the same at MMS is essential. 

Commissioner Gary Shields added, “We need to keep a clear vision on the new building. The current facility is over stressed. It is insulting when kids have to get dressed on a bus.” He was referring to the lockers at MMS that have no bathrooms and little room for athletes to change. A new locker room with bathrooms and places for visiting teams to change is part of the renovations that SGA will be handling.

Principal of East Franklin resigns

In other business, Dr Baldwin announced that Landon Holland, principal of East Franklin Elementary has handed in his resignation. He will be leaving Macon County Schools On Nov. 1 to go work for the  Jackson County School System. They will assign a temporary principal at East Franklin until a permanent replacement is secured.