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Committee recommends transportation renovation

ALBANY -- A renovation is being contemplated for Dougherty County School System's Transportation Department's central office building.

The Dougherty School Board's Building & Grounds Committee -- made up of the Rev. James Bush, David Maschke and Michael Windom -- recommended 3-0 a request from Transportation Director Kenneth Williams during its Thursday morning meeting.

The proposed updated facilities would improve the 1950s military maintenance building that was located and used by the old Turner Field Air Force Base.

Williams, in his second year at the helm, told the board the goal of the renovation request was to "streamline the work environment." Some of the changes would be creating a training room, lowering the ceiling and adding new lighting. Williams noted more than 25 changes he would like made to the building in a handout, including repainting all the surfaces.

Executive Director of Operations and Business Services Robert Lloyd said the project would modernize the building while keeping its footprint.

"If you go out there you'll see it's very spartan and 1950s military style," Assistant Director of Facilities and Capital Projects Bob Fowler said. "It's very cold in there."

Windom asked about the cost of the project, which Williams said would be funded from sales tax. Fowler said school system officials estimated the project would cost $70,000-$75,000.

"This is all overdue," Maschke said. "It would help morale."

Maschke also asked about the updating the building's furniture, which Williams said could use being replaced as well.

"We need to look at these and take care of these facilities like we have for other (school system) facilities," Bush said. "I also think we can look at the furniture, as Maschke and Windom said. We need to move on improving the atmosphere."

School officials will now proceed to solicit bids for the project.

The Building & Grounds Committee also recommended approving change order proposals for Albany High School's renovation project of $45,401 for hardware upgrades and improvements, and $125,812 for repainting, acoustical improvements and other improvements in the high school auditorium. Windom also suggested fixing the school's auditorium sound system, which Fowler said dates to 1979. The committee recommended 3-0 the estimated $20,000-$25,000 electronic upgrade.

In addition to renovating playground equipment at Lake Park and Turner elementary schools, the committee also recommended 3-0 to add Magnolia and Sylvester Road elementary schools to the playground renovation list.

The delays to the Westover Comprehensive High School cafeteria were also discussed. Fowler surprised the Building & Grounds Committee when he told them that the food booths for the cafeteria had not yet been ordered.

"The Westover kitchen was supposed to open in November, then December and then January," Maschke said. "I'm just ready to eat."

Lloyd said the delays "hasn't affected (the renovation's budget), but has affected the profitability of the cafeteria."

The Building & Grounds Committee also talked about the Dougherty High renovation project, which has been stopped three times in the past.

Lloyd questioned the requested restart fee of $27,440 from the architect Donald Campbell of Atlanta's Stevens & Wilkinson Stang & Newdow.

"I can have the architect come down here and explain this," Fowler suggested. "But this project has changed dramatically."

Maschke said Fowler's suggestion wasn't necessary, but said school officials should be able to figure out the problem before it comes to the Building & Grounds Committee.

Near the end of the meeting Fowler gave quick updates on ongoing projects. He said the two wings that had faded exterior paint at Live Oak Elementary were taken care of recently. However, the school's gym floor continues to have bubbles on the surface.

"We have a moisture problem only in that part of the building," DCSS Construction Manager Tony Reese said.

"It's really baffling us," Fowler added.

Also at the meeting, the process in which school officials bring change order proposals on construction projects to the Building & Grounds Committee was clarified. The question arose after the committee was brought a $1,100 request for 12 Lake Park Media Computer counter chairs. It recommended approval 3-0.

"I was under the impression you wanted to know all the expenditures before they were done," Fowler told the committee.

Maschke said that any change order proposal that was under $40,000, per existing Dougherty County School Board policy, could be approved by Superintendent Sally Whatley.

"The superintendent has never done any signings under $40,000," Lloyd said. "I can do (under) $10,000, but have never done that. But, now we understand the policy."