Oktibbeha school district ready to move into new offices

By David Miller/Columbus Commercial Dispatch

The Oktibbeha County School District finally has the keys to its new home.

Monday, OCSD administration members began moving into their new building on Main Street after the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors approved the building for occupancy.

“Moving everything in will continue several days,” OCSD Superintendent James Covington said. “We’re excited about having a permanent place to call home.”

Supervisors had a walk-through of the facility Monday to address a lengthy list of deficiencies contractor Anco has been working to shore up since the end of June. Then, Anco received a 13-page report that called for called for mainly cosmetic changes, like refinishing sheet-rock in specific rooms, readjusting doors to fit frames and replacing damaged tile.

At the time, life-safety issues were a major concern.

However, the Board of Supervisors had felt assured the building would be ready by the final walk-through.

“When (Anco) told me what their schedule was like, they assured me people were on the job around the clock,” District 3 Supervisor Marvell Howard said. “I felt confident he would have it done by then. Everything looks real good and we’re all pleased.”

The two-story, 8,000-square-foot building cost about $1.6 million.

As of Monday, “just a few minor spots” like paint and gutter extenders needed to be finished, Howard said.

Supervisors will sign off on the final $220,000 payment to Anco, though an unspecified portion will be credited back to the county for the days it took to complete the project.

Anco received a $180,857.27 payment following the Board of Supervisors meeting on July 18.

The OCSD’s main office had been located on Louisville Street since 2005 following damages to its old headquarters by Hurricane Katrina.

County schools begin on Aug. 8.

In other news, the board heard concerns from Susan McAllister over “insufficient” notice of stop signs at the intersection of Longview Road and Highway 25.

McAllister’s son, Wynn, was traveling on Longview Road for the first time on Dec. 27, 2010 before he struck a vehicle crossing the intersection on Highway 25 and was killed.

McAllister, who lives in Birmingham, Ala. but has a home in Browning Creek, told the board the proximity — what she measured as 13 feet — between the stop sign on Longview Road and the intersection is insufficient.

Currently, there is not flashing stoplight at the intersection with Highway 25, a four-lane highway.

McAllister referenced the similarities between her son’s accident and of the fatal crash of John B. Bush, who wrecked at the same intersection on June 2.

“It’s a total optical illusion,” McAllister said. “You can’t see a thing. The illusion is that the road is longer.”

County Administrator Don Posey said that state has to sign off on any additional road work on Longview Road. However, the county plans to put additional stop sign warnings to go with the current warning on Longview Road.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation is responsible for any warnings placed on Highway 25.