A change is going to come to Sumter County schools

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 17, 2005

SUMTER COUNTY- Although only two Board of Education members were present during the work session last night, some important topics were discussed.

Superintendent Fred Primm, Jr. and staff joined board president Bertha Rodgers and Bobby Boswell, member, at the 6:30 p.m. work session to talk about construction and finance.

Davis Sims of Architects Associated made an appearance to speak about the activity center that may be constructed at Livingston Junior High School.

Email newsletter signup

The center will accommodate grades K-3 and is estimated to cost $495,000.

Primm and Sims previously discussed cutting some unnecessary items from the construction to make the project fit into the $350,000 budget and brought the ideas to the board.

Some minor aesthetic changes brought the project down to $461,000, but talks are still going on to discuss what else may be cut to accommodate the budget.

Adjustments such as changing the floor from rubber to vinyl tiling will cut the cost by $2,000, but safety of the children comes first.

The idea putting the project up for bid again came up, but the board is not sure of what to do.

Primm said once a plan is determined, the project should take a few months and he hopes to have it completed by next fall.

Sumter County High School has two options to update its facilities.

The board can either choose to renovate parts of the school and add new facilities onto the remaining piece or it can choose to build a joint campus, combining Livingston High School and Sumter County High.

The renovations will bring a new auditorium, classrooms, bathrooms, and administration suite. It will add a new enclosed circulation route to prevent students from going outside between classes, and upgrade the existing fire alarm and sprinkler systems. New roofing would also be added to the existing buildings to match the constructed parts.

“The building needs to be brought up to code either way,” Carl Exford, president of Exford, LLC., said.

The estimated cost of the renovation and addition project will be $8,897,195 and will accommodate 750 students.

Option B is to start from scratch and build an entire new campus for Sumter High and Livingston High School.

The building is designed to accommodate 1,000 students and will have everything Sumter High currently has plus a media center.

The 177,525 square foot project is estimated to cost $21,402,320.

Board member Boswell’s main concern with both projects is numbers. He believes the plans are attempting to accommodate more students than the schools currently have.

Because Primm is new to both projects, he is depending on the board members’ input.

“Tell me which way you want to go and we’ll get there,” Primm told the board. “I don’t want to prolong it.”

With all the talks of money and budgeting, it was only appropriate for a representative from the Frazer Lanier Company, Inc. to talk to the board about debt, how to reduce it and how to finance it.

Primm will work with the company to straighten out educational finances.

The superintendent also plans to attend the town hall meetings next week to get an idea of what the citizens want.

“When making decisions like this, you have to investigate the cost analysis and consider the public and their money.”

The town hall meetings will be held Monday at North Sumter, Tuesday at Livingston High, and Thursday at Sumter County High at 6 p.m. each night.

Primm hopes to make it to every meeting, but will definitely be at Thursday’s gathering.