Walton County School Board discusses building projects and upgrades [PREMIUM]

WALTON SCHOOL BOARD members Tammy Smith, Jeri Michie, and Kim Kirby at the April 20 regular school board meeting.

Story and photo by STACY MARTIN 

On April 20, the Walton County School Board (WCSB) held its regular school board meeting.  The meeting was held at the South Walton High School media center. In attendance were Superintendent Russell Hughes, Chairman Jason Catalano, and board members Kim Kirby, William “Bill” Eddins, Jeri Michie, and Tammy Smith.  

The meeting began with the approval of the consent and regular agenda, and then department requests under the action agenda starting with a request to approve the amended Walton County School District (WCSD) 2021-2022 twelve-month holiday schedule. The board approved the request unanimously.  

The Finance Department began with a request to approve the monthly financial statements for the WCSD for March. The board approved the request unanimously.  

The next item was for the budget amendments through March, which the board approved unanimously with a motion from Kirby and a second from Eddins.

A request was made from the Human Resources Department to approve the Educational Management Consultant Services, Inc. (EMCS) contract for consultant services related to federal program support. The board approved the request unanimously.  

Hughes then recommended approving the student teaching and clinical experiences affiliation agreement between Eastern Illinois University and Walton County School District.  A motion for approval was made by Michie and seconded by Smith, and the motion carried.

The last item was for approval of April 20, 2021 personnel recommendations and personnel addendum. The board approved the request unanimously.  

The Technology Department requested approval of the Statement of Work from Dell for the 1:1 9th Grade Project.  A motion was made by Jeri Michie, second by Tammy Smith with the activity carried.  Next was to approve the Statement of Work from Dell for the 5th Grade and Freeport Elementary School Cart Project and the Summer 2021 Refresh. All were approved unanimously by the board.

The Facilities and Construction Department requested to approve change order #12 to reduce the GMP to return unused contingency funds for Dune Lakes Elementary School. This will not change the contract time set. Motion for approval was made by Kirby and seconded by Michie, with the motion carried.  

 The next request for approval was for change order #2 for the Freeport Transportation Facility. The Change Order reduces the GMP resulting from direct owner purchases saving $80,164.76 in sales tax. The board approved the request unanimously.  

The next item was an update on the West DeFuniak Elementary School re-roof program and a request to approve of the contingency modification.  The agenda package states that this modification #4 to Childers Construction Company Inc. adjusts the contractor’s contingency to credit the add alternate to contingency and a deduct for replacing damaged metal panels and the addition of metal wall panels. The board approved the request unanimously with a motion from Michie and a second from Eddins. 

The next item was a request for the approval of an Interlocal Agreement for Public School Facilities Planning. The WCSB contracted with the University of Florida to update the District’s planning services. Gene Boles was hired as the UF consultant to review and update the Interlocal Agreement. The current Interlocal Agreement for Public School Facilities Planning was last amended in 2006/2007.  In 2011, the laws changed, leaving the current document in need of amendments. The board approved the request unanimously. 

Hughes then recommended approving the Freeport Elementary School addition contingency modification #1 to Allstate Construction. This contingency modification adjusts the contractor’s contingency within the contract and does not change the overall contract amount or the contract time. The board approved the request unanimously.

The last item was the approval of the Freeport Elementary School phase 1C with Allstate Construction’s Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP). The Phase 1C GMP items include general site work improvements such as a new bus loop, vehicle rider drive and stacking loop, parking lot, large stormwater management facility (wet pond with fountain), irrigation, and landscaping. Other items include fencing, aluminum canopy system, and sidewalks.  A motion for approval was made by Eddins and seconded by Smith with the motion carried.

The last item was a COVID-19 update from School Safety Specialist Charlie Morse. Morse gave the board an update on the COVID-19 numbers as of the time of the meeting. As of April 23, Walton County has 7,686 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and has had 87 fatalities. The county has a total of 36,772 vaccines administered, with 15,275 having received both doses. 

The next county school board meeting will be held on May 4, at 5 p.m. at the Tivoli Complex.