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|Richwood school bids coming in August|
Bids for the construction of a new Richwood Middle School are scheduled to be opened Aug. 4 with groundbreaking ceremonies following later that month.
The Ouachita Parish School Board estimates the construction of the new middle school will cost roughly $13 million. Once construction begins, it will take about 16 months for the school to be completed, according to school board safety and construction coordinator Ken Slusher.
Slusher presented the information to the Ouachita Parish School Board Tuesday during its regular meeting.
School board member the Rev. John Russell couldn't hide his excitement.
"So, we should be ready to start in August?" Russell said with a huge smile.
Slusher responded, "They said they will break ground before the end of the month, Rev. Russell."
Russell said his constituents in Richwood were anxious for the project to begin. He explained the school board delayed the process of requesting bids from contractors due to some changes in design plans.
"I've been waiting anxiously for this," Russell said. "We should have had it done about the same time as Sterlington."
Russell was referring to the planned construction of a new Sterlington Elementary School. Groundbreaking ceremonies for the new Sterlington school were held in April. That new school will cost roughly $13 million to build, too.
In all, both new school construction projects will total more than $25 million. The projects are being funded by a property tax extension approved by eastern Ouachita Parish voters last year.
The property tax extension provided the parish school system with roughly $39 million for construction of the two new schools plus renovations at existing schools in eastern Ouachita.
The school system hopes to have the new schools open by August 2010.
Regarding the design plan changes for Richwood's new middle school, Russell said, "We had some plans that I didn't really think measure up to our expectations. So we went back and sort of tweaked the plans somewhat. It was painful to have to wait, but I think we are going to get what we expected. I am just elated."
Russell is optimistic that the new school will receive favorable bids.
Slusher said previously that due to the competitive nature in the construction market now, the school system received favorable bids for a variety of renovation and construction projects.
"Sterlington came in below, so hopefully we will do the same," Russell said. "We feel good about it, and I think when the bid goes out and we get the bid we want, we will be tremendously happy."