By Emma Crawford Kent
BALDWYN – The Baldwyn School District will open bids on the district’s proposed vocational and technical education center on the Baldwyn High School campus at its March school board meeting next week.
According to Jason McKay, superintendent of Baldwyn Schools, construction on the new building should start soon after the bids are awarded.
“We anticipate breaking ground on the building early-to-mid-April,” McKay said.
The project is being funded by the district’s $2-million bond issue, which was passed in January.
McKay said the district is looking to keep the project’s cost under that $2-million figure.
The new building will house four classrooms for vocational courses like furniture manufacturing and manufacturing technician classes.
The 11,900-square-foot vo-tech center also will include two workshops with extended ceilings, one conference room, four offices, two bathrooms, a lobby, a dock lift and expandable entrances.
Local companies APMM, Southern Motion and HM Richards have worked with district officials to develop the classes that will be offered in the new center, and the companies have made several equipment donations as well.
McKay said he anticipates having the building done by mid-October.
“It’s a process making sure that you’re getting everything done the correct way,” McKay said. “…We are very pleased with the pace at which the vo-tech center is going.”
The district wants to begin offering new vo-tech classes in the fall, McKay said, and students will take those classes in the high school’s main building until the vo-tech center is completed.
Once completed, those classes will move to the new building, where students will have access to state-of-the-art manufacturing and technical equipment.
“We have a plan to be able to start those classes,” McKay said. “We can do the soft skills and that part of the curriculum first, and as soon as the building is completed, we will begin classes in it.”
Since the passage of Baldwyn’s bond issue, the district has also been approved as a District of Innovation in partnership with the Booneville School District.
Booneville students will be able to take the vo-tech classes offered by Baldwyn High School through the partnership.
Prentiss County students will also be able to attend classes at the center.