BOE awards ECHS auditorium bid

At the regular meeting Thursday, December 15, the Escambia County Board of Education was apprised of bid submissions for the renovation of Hodnette Auditorium at Escambia County High School. The board had previously voted to engage Lathan Associates as the architect firm on the project. Bids from four construction companies were opened last week, but not awarded since the bids had to be certified by Lathan.

A special board meeting was held Tuesday, December 20, to award the bid. According to Superintendent John Knott, the bid was awarded to A.E. New, Jr., Inc., Pensacola. The bid was $2.1 million, a little higher than had been anticipated. Knott said he anticipates work will start by February 1, and take eight to nine months to complete.

“This company has a good track record with us,” Knott said. “This is the same contractor that renovated the auditorium at Flomaton High School. They did a great job for us there. A number of years before that, they did the gym at Flomaton High. We’re looking forward to their doing this job at Escambia County High School.”

Renovations will include Hodnette Auditorium as well as the entry lobby and the main lobby. Dressing rooms and restrooms for backstage access will be constructed – facilities this auditorium has never had. In addition, the auditorium will have handicap access to both sides of the stage and both sides of the seating area, new lighting and sound systems, a sound booth, new seats, and an expanded stage. Also, the floor will be modified to decrease the angle of incline.

At the regular meeting Thursday, December 15, the following business was conducted:

Knott recognized (and bragged on) the Escambia County High School Choir for their performance at the Alabama Association of School Board’s Annual Conference held at the Wynfrey Hotel in Birmingham on December 9.

About 500 school board members and superintendents from around the state were in attendance.

In the Spotlighting Success portion of the BOE meeting, W.S. Neal Middle School

Principal Dr. Laura Leigh Rambach talked about the students’ community service projects.

Chief School Financial Officer Julie Madden presented a review of the monthly financial statement for November 2016. Unreserved fund balance is $11.79 million, with 4.03 months operating reserve.

The board renewed the appointment of Board Attorney Broox Garrett for January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017, with $1,000 retainer fee.