Carver-Church Street merger hits cost bump

TUPELO – Tupelo School officials learned on Thursday that the cost of combining Carver and Church Street Elementary Schools could be at least $500,000 more than they had anticipated.
Bids to purchase portable classrooms and do site work at Carver Elementary revealed that it will cost at least $1.4 million to complete that work in time for the beginning of the new school year on Aug. 4.
Tupelo’s School Board voted in March to consolidate the two K-2 schools because they were the two smallest in the district. Combining the two schools, the district said, would result in better services for students. The district had planned to house the approximately 440 students from the combined school at Carver Elementary for at least the next three years.
On Thursday, the Board tabled taking any action to purchase or lease portable classrooms while it reexamines its options in response to the cost overruns. The district had budgeted to spend between $850,000 and $900,000 on the merger.
Among the options will be using both Carver and Church Street next year while the district either gives contractors more time to prepare portable classrooms or to build a permanent facility on one of the two campuses.
If the district uses both campuses next year, it will likely house two grade levels at one building and one grade level at the other.
For more on this story, see Friday’s NEMS Daily Journal.

Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal