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JUNCTION CITY — Junction City School District Superintendent Robby Lowe announced that the high school PEHAM building will be complete next winter.

Construction bids for the building set to house high school PE, health, art and music (PEHAM) classes were supposed to be open “somewhere around the second week of February.” Lowe reported last month that ERC architect Michael Rogers was confident in completing it by the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, according to previous News-Times reports.

During a school board meeting Thursday, the superintendent said the start date was pushed back due to a delay in the design process and construction bids should be available for the board to review in April, or in March if a special meeting is called.

“(Rogers) said that he had a delay with the engineering firm … so he’s been delayed submitting to the state department for approval. Should you follow the timeline there, he hopes to be submitting on the 16th,” he said. “In his conversation, he says that when he finishes, he’s driving to Little Rock to hand deliver to the fire marshal, state plumbing board and to the department of school facilities and transportation.”

Rogers optimistically estimates that the turnaround should take about three weeks. Bids would be advertised on Feb. 25 and March 4, Lowe said.

“He didn’t quite understand state bureaucracy,” board member Eddie Bryan said.

Board vice president David Barnette said, “He just wants the board to turn him loose so he could build something.”

Bid day will be held at 2 p.m. March 20 in the special programs building, according to the revised timetable provided by the district. Upon the board’s review of the bids, the project would start soon after and is now expected to be completed within 270-300 days.

“We’re still shooting for the second semester of next year,” Lowe said.

Once construction starts, a penalty would be imposed if ERC takes longer than the projected date. Thirty-five percent of the state partnership money has been received by the district to fund the project, the superintendent said.

Board members approved to add May 29-30 as makeup days, the district’s 2018-2019 school calendar, a proposed 2019-2020 budget of expenditures with the tax levy and a student transfer into the district.

The board also unanimously approved the resignation of paraprofessional Claudette Meadows, the contract renewals for principals Joy Mason and Teresa Matochik; and an extension to Lowe’s contract through June 20, 2021.

The Junction City School Board’s meeting is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. March 13 in the special program building meeting room.

Brittany Williams may be reached at 870-862-6611 or Follow her on Twitter and like her on Facebook @BWilliamsEDNT for updates on Union County school news.

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