By CARL SMITH
The Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors heard an update on the construction of the county educational building Monday and decided to continue with payments for the project and have board President Marvell Howard conduct a walkthrough with project architects and contractors before its final inspection.
Howard, who has a background in construction and contracting work, said the walkthrough will allow him to make sure supervisors are abreast of any problems before final inspection.
“We want to make sure the building is up to par like it needs to be,” Howard said. “The building is functional and will be usable for years. We need to make sure our money is being used accordingly.”
During the education building update, Architect Roger Pryor, of Pryor and Morrow Architects and Engineers, said a number of minor cosmetic problems and concerns had been addressed by the project’s contractors, Anco Construction, Inc., of Corinth.
On June 30, a list of room- and project-specific deficiencies was drafted by Pryor and Morrow in regard to the project. The report listed 306 cosmetic and interior-specific problems with individual rooms — including, but not limited to needs for paint touch-ups, ceramic tiles and sheetrock work — 21 general observations and 60 mechanical and electrical notes.
A list dated July 11 and presented by Pryor to the supervisors Monday detailed only 20 observations of deficiencies. That report listed cosmetic issues including exterior signage not in place, evidence of roof ponding at the north end and loose brick mould around some windows.
“The contractors have taken care of about 85 percent of the problems. They worked throughout the weekend and have shown great progress in addressing the problems,” Pryor said. “There always will be problems. This contractor doesn’t have problems that are insurmountable. I feel real good about the project now.”’
Construction of the education building was funded by a $1.7 million Planning and Development District grant and $320,000 from the county.
County school district officials hope to move into the building by the end of the month.
Supervisors also unanimously agreed to begin exploring signage options to remind Oktibbeha County drivers of the 3-foot-minimum law in regard to bicyclists’ safety.
Physician Jim Brown spoke on behalf of various bicyclist safety groups in the area and presented a list of county roads which he said are used by cyclists and need signage to alert drivers of Mississippi’s John Paul Frerer Bicycle Safety Act.
Brown said the signs could help prevent tragedies, such as the Jan Morgan accident, from occurring.
“(Jan Morgan’s husband, David) asked us to bring something positive from her situation. ... This action taken by the board would be the first step,” Brown said.
The list presented by Brown named several county thoroughfares — including South Montgomery Street, Oktoc Road and Old West Point Road — as areas needing signage. The list, he said, was not comprehensive, and he encourages placement of 3-foot-minimum signs on other roads not listed.
In other business, the board:
Heard an update about the Heritage Museum. “Our Oktibbeha” — an ongoing photo project of the city and county — is currently on display at the museum.
u Approved the Oktibbeha Sheriff’s Department to pursue three grants. One grant could allow for the conversion of a minimum 10 county vehicles to a propane-burning engine, and the other grants could be used toward the purchase of new radio equipment.
u Approved the transfer of $60,000 alloted Surface Transportation Program grants to Kemper County for State-Aid funds.
u Reappointed Leon Mathis as the District 3 representative of the hospital board.