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Natchez, Adams County boards to meet about plans for new high school
from Staff Reports - NEWS
January 4, 2017 -

By John Mott Coffey

NATCHEZ, Miss. — City and county boards will be jointly meeting Friday to discuss plans for Natchez High School’s rebuilding or remodeling.

The Natchez-Adams school board has construction designs and cost estimates for replacing or refurbishing the Seargent Prentiss Drive facility built in the early 1960s.

Friday’s meeting will bring the school board together with Adams County supervisors, Natchez aldermen and mayor along with the Natchez-Adams County Recreation Commission.

Adams County Board of Supervisors President Mike Lazarus said the meeting will also provide an opportunity for officials to discuss plans for the large field by the high school. He’s expressed concerns about the city-owned “beanfield” being used for school construction rather than recreation, as envisioned for years by city and county officials.

Meanwhile, nearby ballfields have already been laid out and plans are underway to build a pool and basketball courts for a new recreation complex at Liberty Park.

Adams County supervisors on Tuesday raised questions about cost overruns for that first phase. Camo Construction Co. wants about $30,000 more than what was called for in the original contract it signed with the Recreation Commission to do the playing fields’ dirtwork. Camo representatives appeared before the county board asking about getting paid, but supervisors said they haven't seen the bill for this cost overrun.

They said the Recreation Commission had approved the changes for paying Camo more after land surveys indicated additional work was needed beyond the original plan. However, county board attorney Scott Slover noted state law species certain conditions must be met before paying construction companies above the amount initially agreed to.

The pool, two ballfields and related structures are being built with $1.2 million allocated by the Adams County Board of Supervisors and Natchez Board of Aldermen. The two boards in 2015 signed an agreement to combine funds to jointly fund and operate a community recreation program run by the Jackson-based YMCA. A groundbreaking ceremony for the recreation complex was held last April.

Natchez-Adams County Recreation Chairman Tate Hobdy said in December that construction bids for the pool were received and being considered by the commission. He said the commission has been empowered to spend funds from the city and county boards. "They gave us authority to act and we are doing just that," Hobdy said.

In their first meeting of the new year, the five county supervisors re-elected Lazars as board president. They also reappointed Jim Marlow as county engineer but later kicked the public out of their meeting to discuss his job performance and whether to retain him.

Before closing the public out of their meeting, supervisors discussed erosion problems that’s threatening to make Cemetery Road near Elysian Fields Plantation impassable. While federal funds have been used to curb the erosion, more work is needed to ensure the road doesn’t collapse into the ravine that rims it, said county Road Manager Robbie Dollar. | © 2014 | All Rights Reserved
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